Dec. 16, 2017
Sylvia Hill Fields, executive director of the Eden Hall Foundation, told Saint Vincent College August and December graduates and their families and friends on Dec. 16 to “believe in yourself and trust your judgment.”
Fields, a graduate of Seton Hill University, began her talk with memories about her visits to Saint Vincent as a student riding the shuttle bus between the two campuses. “I have great memories of this place,” she said. “The institution from which are you to graduate today is one time honored, 171 years of educating and preparing leaders to take their place in this new world. An educational institution with a network that spans the globe and is noted for academic excellence and service long before community service was cool. You have chosen well.”
She advised the graduates to “be a good listener since the most effective leaders are typically the best listeners. Acknowledge the contributions of others in your achievements. No one gets there without assistance.”
Fields noted that she was the first in her family to attend college and that she was the daughter of a widowed mother and the great granddaughter of “some who had been enslaved in this country.”
“Don’t be afraid to adjust your course,” she advised, “when you know better, do better. It is called correction. Every now and then you need to adjust your course, especially when your current course isn’t working. Get to know folks who are different from you. Be it that they worship differently or look different from you, you might find they aren’t so different after all.”
One hundred one graduates received bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degrees at the 13th annual December Commencement marking the completion of their studies at Saint Vincent College.
Prior to her commencement address, Fields was honored with the conferral of an honorary doctor of humane letters degree.
Archabbot Douglas R. Nowicki, O.S.B., chancellor, presided. He and Br. Norman W. Hipps, O.S.B., president, awarded the honorary degree and the student degrees. Graduates were presented by Dr. John J. Smetanka, vice president for academic affairs and academic dean.
The commencement ceremony was preceded by a Baccalaureate Mass in the Mary, Mother of Wisdom Student Chapel and followed by a reception in the Robert S. Carey Student Center lounge.
Photo: Sylvia Hill Fields
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