End of an Era
The 2014-2015 academic year was fraught with many challenges. We lost an icon with the passing of Fr. Theodore M. Hesburgh C.S.C. He was the guiding force that opened the doors for African Americans and women to attend Notre Dame. Under his tutelage, Notre Dame was thrust into the Civil Rights Movement. The photograph of Fr. Hesburgh and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. can be found throughout the campus as a symbol of what the institution aspires to become. Not only will we walk hand-in-hand on this journey; we will have civil discourse and understand that we can disagree without being disagreeable.
Notre Dame students struggled with the passing of three of their classmates this year. The community was in shock with sudden death of Professor Cathy Pieronek, who was a strong advocate for women in engineering. As a community, faculty, administrators and students came in solidarity to support the respective families and friends during these emotionally-driven times. It was heartening to observe how each person was acknowledged throughout the Commencement Weekend.
MSPS acknowledged one hundred and sixty-seven participants in our annual recognition ceremonies. MSPS, also, recognized the numerous seniors, who received Latin Honors this year. The graduates and their families were graced with words of wisdom and challenges from Dr. Brian Collier, ACE faculty and Director Native American Initiatives (Native American), Dr. Luis Fraga, Professor of Political Science (Latino), Dr. Cecelia Lucero, First Year of Studies (Asian and Pacific Islander), and Mr. Rod West, Board of Trustee member (Africana). As the graduates go forth to travel the world, pursue advance degrees or begin their careers, they have a solid foundation to make a difference within the communities they reside. MSPS wishes them the best in their future endeavors.
As we anticipate the return of our students, who have been abroad, they will experience the cliché “ The more things stay the same, the more they change.” In some aspects the ND will be the same; but in others they will notice the changes. This is beyond the physical augmenting of the stadium. The dialogue regarding social issues has permeated the campus thanks to the leadership of the NAACP and faculty. Ferguson and Die-In have thrust ND students into a different state of consciousness. Some realized the privilege and access they have and began critically analyzing how to deconstruct the inequities that exist. Thank you to the late Professor Robert Sedlack, Jr. for continuing to bring these issues into his classroom and guiding his students to consider how they could live out Matamha Gandhi’s quote “To be the change you wish to see in the world.”
Students, current and incoming first years, think of what your role will be when you come home to the Dome.
Enjoy your summer.
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