Congratulations to Class of 2015!
Largest Graduating Class in JCU History
John Cabot University celebrated the largest graduating class in its history on May 18, 2015 at the Villa Aurelia on the Janiculum Hill overlooking the city of Rome. 148 students representing 27 countries throughout the world received Bachelor of Arts degrees.
The invocation was given by Monsignor Gerald Vincke, Spiritual Director of the Pontifical North American College in Rome.
President Franco Pavoncello’s Remarks
President Franco Pavoncello welcomed graduates and guests and exhorted the Class of 2015 to use their education to better the world: “At JCU you have been given the tools and skills to be lifelong learners. You have learned to appreciate different points of view and build dialogue across languages and cultures. These are important privileges, but they also entail responsibilities. While you build your lives and your careers with intelligence and passion, you must remain aware of the importance of promoting peaceful, healthy progress for your societies, based on dialogue, openness, and compassion. You can build a better, more generous world, and you should make that task an important measure of your success in life. “
The President then introduced the Honorable William J. Martini, Vice-Chairman of the JCU Board of Trustees, who congratulated the graduates on behalf of the Chairman, Honorable Frank J. Guarini, and the other Board members.
Commencement Address by Ambassador John R. Phillips
This year’s Commencement speaker was Honorable John R. Phillips, U.S. Ambassador to the Italian Republic and the Republic of San Marino. Before being nominated by President Barack Obama in 2013, Ambassador Phillips had a distinguished career in law, with a particular interest in the environment, civil rights, and corporate responsibility. President Pavoncello presented Ambassador Phillips with the JCU Presidential Medal of Distinction, in recognition of his contribution to strengthening the bonds between the people of the United States of America and Italy, and his distinguished professional career as a lawyer committed to public policy issues and public service.
Ambassador Phillips thanked the President and congratulated the Class of 2015, encouraging them to be ready to open the door when opportunities present themselves: “Find something that you like to do, but don’t be afraid to take risks and embrace change in your life. Follow your dreams but, most importantly, maintain your integrity,” he concluded.
Honorary Degree to Author Dacia Maraini
John Cabot University conferred a Degree in Humane Letters, honoris causa, to renowned Italian novelist, poet, playwright, and essayist Dacia Maraini. In presenting the degree to Ms. Maraini, President Pavoncello described her as “an iconic figure in contemporary Italian literature, a tireless social activist and observer of the conditions of women in society, as well an advocate for their rights.”
“Dacia Maraini’s personal history, her professional activity, and her commitment to social causes make her an important role model for our students and for all of us,” said President Pavoncello.
Ms. Maraini expressed her deep gratitude for the honorary degree and said that her relationship with the United States began in 1946 when American soldiers liberated her and her family from a Japanese concentration camp: “It gives me great pleasure to receive an honorary degree from an American university. For me and my family, America has always been synonymous with freedom.” She continued by stressing the importance of studying different cultures in order to spread peace: “Where there is war, there are no thoughts and no words. In war, only arms speak, and arms silence words. For this reason, I am a firm believer in the power of words, of literature, poetry, and theater in order to prevent wars.”
Valedictorians Loredana Mihani and Stanislav Rudoi
For the first time in the history of John Cabot University there were two Valedictorians: Loredana Mihani and Stanislav Rudoi tied for the highest grade point average of the Class of 2015, 3.96.
Loredana Mihani, who is from Albania, graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and minors in International Affairs and Italian Studies. She is on her way to Oxford University, which has awarded her the highly competitive Ertegun Scholarship in the Humanities. Stanislav Rudoi, who is from Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation, received a Bachelor of Arts degree in both Business Administration and Economics and Finance, with a minor in Psychology. He is currently pursuing CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) certification while exploring job opportunities in Rome.
“The years that each of us has spent at JCU have been the most productive of our lives, “said Stanislav in his Valedictory Speech. “For this I would like to thank the amazing faculty of our University who always challenged us, the staff who made our lives easier, and the administration and Trustees who continued to build our University – not only for us, but for the generations of students to come.”
According to Stanislav, we cannot eliminate uncertainty from the future, but JCU has equipped us well to deal with it: “By interacting with students from 60 different countries, we have learned that there can always be a common ground that helps us to live with civility, respect, and compassion, allowing us to be the leaders of constructive dialogue,” explained Stanislav. “Along with these common values, our education has equipped us with an open intellectual curiosity and agility, an ability to seek new solutions to complex problems and the courage to not be afraid to consider new possibilities for our world. These are our anchors. These are our strengths that will last a lifetime. This is what the Class of 2015 will bring to the future.”
Dean Merva Confers Degrees
Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs Mary Merva 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, Italian Studies, Marketing, and Political Science.