Congratulations to John Cabot University Class of 2016!

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The Class of 2016
John Cabot University celebrated its 44th Commencement ceremony on May 16, 2016 at the Villa Aurelia on the Janiculum Hill overlooking the city of Rome. 146 students representing 26 countries throughout the world received Bachelor of Arts degrees.

Commencement 2016

Commencement 2016

The invocation was given by Father Mark Haydu, International Director, Patron of the Arts in the Vatican Museums.

President Franco Pavoncello’s Welcome
President Franco Pavoncello welcomed graduates and guests and reminded the Class of 2016 of the importance of thinking critically and continuing to learn throughout their lives. “I am proud of the fact that JCU has provided you with these abilities; you have the tools to lead the world of tomorrow,” he said.

The President then introduced the Honorable Frank J. Guarini, Chairman of the JCU Board of Trustees, who congratulated the graduates on behalf of the Board.

See more Commencement 2016 photos on the JCU Facebook Page

Minister Dario Franceschini

Minister Dario Franceschini

Commencement Address by the Honorable Dario Franceschini
This year’s Commencement speaker was Honorable Dario Franceschini, Italian Minister of Cultural Heritage and Tourism and a leading figure of the Democratic Party. Franceschini has put in place innovative ways to promote the cultural assets of Italy, a country that boasts more UNESCO world heritage sites than any other Under Franceschini’s tenure, Italy held its first-ever international search for the directors of 20 of the country’s leading museums, with the end result that 7 out of 20 of these institutions are now headed by foreigners. In 2014, Franceschini launched the “Art Bonus” tax break for patrons of Italian culture, inspired by the American tradition of providing fiscal rewards for philanthropy.

“Rome has been a melting pot of different cultures for many centuries. John Cabot University, with its students from so many different countries, continues this tradition by favoring intercultural dialogue,” said Minister Franceschini in his address. He exhorted students to keep Rome in their hearts and to help spread culture and understanding by building bridges rather than walls. He also talked about his work as a novelist, quoting author Joseph Conrad, who said, “How do I explain to my wife that when I look out the window I’m working?”  “Students, don’t ever stop looking out the window,” Franceschini concluded.

President Pavoncello then conferred a Degree in Humane Letters, honoris causa, to Minister Franceschini, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to Italian democratic life and his commitment to the promotion of the country’s artistic patrimony.

From left, Mr. Roberto Wirth and President Pavoncello

From left, Mr. Roberto Wirth and President Pavoncello

Honorary Degree to Roberto Wirth
John Cabot University awarded a Degree in Humane Letters, honoris causa, to Mr. Roberto Wirth, President and General Manager of the Hassler Hotel overlooking the Spanish Steps. Born in Rome in 1950, Wirth is the only known deaf person in the world to head a world-famous five-star hotel. He is also the founder and president of CABSS, Centro Assistenza per Bambini Sordi e Sordociechi Onlus (Assistance Center for Deaf and Deafblind Children), a non-profit organization that is dedicated to supporting deaf and deafblind children, and their families. In presenting the degree to Mr. Wirth, President Pavoncello commended his exceptional entrepreneurial achievements and philanthropic dedication.

Valedictorian Silvia Bezzi
This year’s Valedictorian, with a grade point average of 3.97, is Silvia Bezzi, a Communications major and Business Administration minor from Castel San Pietro Terme near Bologna, Italy. According to President Pavoncello, “Silvia embodies the best characteristics of the JCU student, with her ability to merge creativity with practical business skills and strategic thinking.”

In her valedictory address, Silvia urged fellow students to be guided by selflessness and kindness, and to remember the importance of other people in their success stories.

Quoting writer Toni Morrison, Silvia said, “When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else.”

Dean Harris Confers Degrees
Associate Dean of Academic Affairs Pamela Harris then presented diplomas to graduates, who received their Bachelor of Arts degrees in Art History, Business Administration, Classical Studies, Communications, Economics and Finance, English Literature, History, Humanistic Studies, International Affairs, International Business, Marketing, and Political Science.

JCU Commencement in the News
John Cabot University’s Commencement ceremony was amply covered in the Italian press.

Read the articles (in Italian):

“Università, lunedì John Cabot conferisce laurea honoris causa a Franceschini” (La Repubblica)

“John Cabot University. Laurea honoris causa a Franceschini” (Artemagazine)

“Laurea honoris causa al ministro Franceschini” (La nuova Ferrara)

Commencement photo gallery here.