Eager faces of parents, families and friends filled University of Dayton Arena for the spring 2017 commencement May 7. Led by faculty, students filed in from all entrances, and guests whistled and waved happily in an attempt to catch the attention of their beloved graduate. When all graduates were seated in the center of the arena, everyone fell silent, ready to see these students enter the next phase of their lives.
Addressing the Class of 2017, the largest graduating class in University history, Provost Paul Benson offered welcoming remarks before inviting the graduates standing before him to place a medal around their necks featuring Blessed Father William Joseph Chaminade on one side and the University seal on the other.
Following Benson’s welcome, Crystal Sullivan, director of campus ministry gave an invocation and Anne Elizabeth Scott ’17 filled the arena with her voice for the national anthem.
Devin Mallet ’17 addressed his graduating class, telling the story of his journey of finding the University of Dayton and ending with a warm wish of good luck for his fellow classmates. His message was clear: The University of Dayton is the reason these students are standing here today, ready to face the world.
Before the 1,502 undergraduate degrees were conferred, University President Eric F. Spina invited the newest alumni to be a “porch light” for the world and heroic in all they do.
“Use your education to make a difference in this world that needs many differences to be made. Make a child’s life better. Advance the frontiers of medicine. Use your knowledge to create products and services that help those who most need help. Use your creative talent to help us all see the truth. Use your education to serve others, to make positive changes in the world,” he said.
Commencement ended with students getting their moment in the spotlight as their names were called to receive their diploma, making their very first transition: from student to alumni.
Though, as all Flyers know, and as Spina reminded: “[ … ] You will always be part of this special campus community. This will always be your home, and we will welcome you with open arms whenever you return.”