SAINT VINCENT COLLEGE
COMMENCEMENT REMARKS BY
MR. BRIAN NIEMIEC, C’17
SENIOR CLASS PRESIDENT
Good afternoon. I would like to start out by saying thank you to all whot have come out to celebrate this wonderful commencement ceremony. Thank you parents, grandparents, siblings, family, teachers, staff, faculty and friends for being with us today – but more importantly, thank you for all that you’ve done over the course of our lives to make us who we are today.
While I was complaining about writing my speech instead of actually writing it, I kept asking myself one question. What makes Saint Vincent special? And after thinking about that for a while I realized there was just something different about this place. There was something in the air, and no it wasn’t the smell of the caf, it was the Benedictine values woven into everything we do. Looking back on our time here, the three values that stood out the most were the values of service, hospitality, and most importantly, community.
From our very first days on campus, we have been experiencing the value of service, as we were loaded onto buses and shipped all over the place to partake in various service projects as part of orientation. Since that day the spirit of service hasn’t stopped growing within us, year after year I have been amazed by the incredible efforts of the students who dedicate themselves to service. Whether that is by helping out with Sports Friendship Day, going on a service trip to Haiti or working with our amazing Bearcat B.E.S.T. program. This value of service is not lost upon the faculty and staff either. When one of us struggled with a tough time or needed a little extra help with our academics, there was always someone willing to listen to what was eating away at us or to lend us a helping hand.
With such a strong sense of service pulsing through our community, it is nearly impossible for the value of hospitality to be forgotten. While many of us experienced hospitality on a daily basis, whether that be someone holding the door for you or Veronica remembering your name as she swiped your card or Ms. Patti only charging a meal when we all know a Gatorade costs flex, we brush it off as the norm, but in reality it is so much more than that; it shows the mutual respect for each other. Not only do we hold this respect for fellow Bearcats but also we welcome all with open arms at Saint Vincent. In our time as Bearcats we’ve seen our campus host foreign dignitaries, civil rights activists, conservatives, liberals, we’ve seen the establishment of an LGBTQ student group and a program that helps transition special needs young adults to independence. All of this and we haven’t batted an eye, because we have it ingrained in us to joyfully be hospitable to everyone.
In welcoming in others we have been able to shape and mold our community. Simply put in the Rule of St. Benedict, “we become who we are by our relationships with others.” And this couldn’t be truer than at Saint Vincent. Over the past four years we have turned our community into a family. We’ve experienced some of our highest highs and lowest lows together. We’ve made connections that have become lifelong friendships. Most importantly, we’ve made memories together, everything from the awkward orientation events freshman year, to late night studying in Dupré during finals, to cramming Alcuin before we crammed the Carey for the PAC championship this year and our Wednesday nights at Falbo’s. And while things are changing and whatever lies ahead of us is beyond scary right now, we will always have these memories to look back on and this community, this family will be behind us, supporting us every step of the way.
I hope that you will all continue to grow and harbor these values of service, hospitality and community as you go out into the world. As we conclude this ceremony I want to leave you with this: In all that you do, be the best you that you can be. Congratulations class of 2017 and God bless!