Posted: Monday May 12, 2014
May 12, 2014
Dr. Patrick D. Gallagher, acting deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce, director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and chancellor-elect at the University of Pittsburgh, told more than 300 graduates and their parents and friends at Saint Vincent College May 10 to seek the values they learned at Saint Vincent because their lives will be richer in the service of a great purpose.
“When life presents some doors of opportunity to you and you are facing one of those ‘forks in the road’ – look to the values of Saint Vincent,” he said. “Seek the doors that will fit with your talents and gifts – that you can be passionate about. Seek the doors that lead to a strong, supportive community. And seek the doors that lead to serving a great cause. If you do those things, I can’t predict where you will be going but I can predict that it will be a journey of great fulfillment, great love and one where you will make a great difference.”
He told the graduates that their lifetime journeys will be enhanced if they are striving toward a goal that is bigger than them because it forces them to be more than they are. “It doesn’t matter what greater good you are serving,” he said, “your journey and all the hard work that it will entail, will be all the richer if it is in the service of a great purpose.”
Explaining how his own life unfolded, he said that opportunities in life are not readily predictable. “However, when they do occur, you need to be prepared and able to take advantage,” he explained. “Your education and the degree you are receiving will help make that happen.”
“A diploma is really valuable,” he declared. “In fact, the value of a college degree has never been higher in this country.”
He challenged the graduates to think about what they will miss most as they leave Saint Vincent. “I believe that the thing that matters most is what has value,” he said. “This common value is based on satisfaction of work, the relationship with your colleagues and your mission. A mission means that your work is in service of a goal that is bigger than you: being part of a great cause.”
“We are all born with innate talents and abilities – some are obvious, some take a lifetime to discover, others a lifetime to develop,” he related. “I believe that we are also born with a need – specifically a need to use those talents. When you do something that uses those talents and abilities – when there is that fit – then a mere job becomes a vocation. It is fulfilling and it changes everything: you become passionate about what you are doing. I also believe that real value comes not just from using your talents but growing them. It is the work that extends you, pushes you, and lets you grow new ‘muscles’ of ability that is most satisfying.”
“In every job or vocation I’ve ever had – I was not alone, but part of a team,” he concluded. “We are born to be part of a community. Your co-workers do more than help you, they are not mere spectators or acquaintances – they are partners with you and share your journey.
Saint Vincent College in Latrobe held its 168th annual commencement ceremony for graduates who received bachelor’s or master’s degrees in a traditional public ceremony marking the completion of their studies.
Gallagher was the principal speaker and was honored by Saint Vincent College president Brother Norman Hipps with an honorary doctor of science degree. Charles J. Queenan Jr., chairman emeritus of K&L Gates, was also honored with the conferral of an honorary doctor of humane letters degree.
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