40th Anniversary's Commencement Largest in JCU History
On May 14th, John Cabot University held the 40th Commencement ceremony in its history, celebrating the Class of 2012 at the wonderful Villa Aurelia, home of the American Academy in Rome and located on the city’s Janiculum Hill, overlooking Rome’s historic center and the Trastevere neighborhood.
90 students, representing 19 countries in five continents as well as 13 US states, received degrees in Art History, Business Administration, Classical Studies, Communications, Economics and Finance, English Literature, History, Humanistic Studies, International Affairs, International Business and Political Science.
President Franco Pavoncello opened the ceremony by noting how this was not only the largest, but also quite possibly the most impressive class the University has seen in its 40 years. He then went on to talk about the different tools that are becoming more and more important in today’s global society – going beyond the traditional meaning of academic intelligence, but also including emotional and moral intelligence.
Dr. Pavoncello also remembered His Eminence Cardinal John Foley, Trustee and friend of JCU, who passed away in December of 2011, and was echoed in this by Chairman of the Board of Trustees Joseph Hagan. In his remarks, Dr. Hagan talked about how the University, despite now boasting a student body of 1200, has not lost its personal touch, praising the faculty and staff’s efforts to take the time to get to know the students on a personal level.
President Pavoncello then welcomed Commencement Speaker Dr. Mstislav Afanasiev, Rector of the State University of the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation, and a leading expert in state budgets, finance and taxation. Rector Afanasiev said the students should be extremely proud of their achievements, and pointed out the uniqueness of their alma mater, as it combines the best qualities of the American system of higher education with the extraordinarily rich history and culture associated with Rome and Italy. Rector Afanasiev was also awarded the Degree of Doctor of Public Administration honoris causa.
A Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters honoris causa was then conferred to the Honorable William H. Martini, US District Court Judge for the State of New Jersey and member of the JCU Board of Trustees. His speech, which began with a reference to the Wall Street Journal article “10 Things Your Commencement Speaker Won’t Tell You,” spoke of how a degree is the foundation for lifelong learning in a global community, and of how graduation day is a happy occasion, but also one filled with anxiety for the future, over career decisions, choices and the quest for financial independence. His enlightening speech touched on Hon. Martini’s own life experience, as he urged graduates not to be discouraged by moments of uncertainty: “Make change your friend, not your enemy, and you’ll never be alone.”
The Class of 2012 Valedictorian was Sofia Barry, who graduated summa cum laude in International Affairs, with an astonishing 3.99 GPA. Quoting Mahatma Gandhi, who said “Live as if you were to die tomorrow, learn as if you were to live forever,” Sofia praised the graduates, both for their academic work but also for the contribution they have made to JCU and the community as a whole through the excellent charity work done by JCU’s student clubs and organizations; she also urged her fellow graduates to go out into the world and try to better it to not compromise their integrity and to not get discouraged by any difficulties they will encounter in their lives.
Dean of Academic Affairs Mary Merva then presented diplomas to the graduating students who had completed their degrees in the 2011-2012 academic year; last among them, a posthumous Degree in Business administration was awarded to Adriano Prudentini, a Class of 2012 Business Administration student who tragically passed away in 2011.
Congratulations to the Class of 2012, and all the best of luck for the future from the entire JCU community. Ad Maiora!