Dr. Dovre's Opening Convocation Remarks
Opening Convocation Greeting - September 2, 2009
I greet you again in the spirit of this new academic year
- A year in which we will both mourn and celebrate the life of Pamela Jolicoeur, a president most of you did not know but one whose life may be a resource to us all
- A year in which there is much about which to be troubled
- an economy in continuing recession
- a toxic public square
- an increasingly long and complicated war
- and an understandably dispirited public will
There are many analyses of your generation and much of that is encouraging including the prediction that you may be the next “greatest generation,” a generation willing to take on heavy burdens for the sake of the common good.
But for you who are students, especially first year students, your current reality has been shaped by some experiences not included in every analysis for you are the post 911 generation.
- You have been shaped by a culture of fear—fear of devices of mass destruction, fear of people unlike yourselves, fear of economic collapse, fear of big government and all the rest.
- You are aware of our vulnerability: the vulnerability of the financial world, the vulnerabilities of Katrina and oil spills and tsunamis, the vulnerability of borders and boundaries
- And you are aware of the limits—the limits of U.S. power, the limits of careful financial planning—the limits of democracy
- On the other side—you come to these challenging realities with growing awareness of and appreciation for diversity—religious, cultural, racial—and you seem to thrive that diversity
- And you bring with you a striking awareness of global reality—we are interconnected in almost every way imaginable and hopefully in these years you will grow in both your global understanding and skill.
- You also bring with you the strong experience of family—the values, the love, the hope and the confidence of the people who mean the most to you.
- And you bring a heritage of faith and you have come to a place where that heritage will be respected and where you will be invited—not compelled but invited—to explore and grow and claim anew that faith tradition.
My expectation is that for you and your future the agenda will be
- Less about me and more about we
- Less about a life plan and more about a life calling
- Less about what government cannot do and more about what it can do
- Less about control and more about discernment
- Less about escape and more about problem solving
- Less about grand plans and more about getting the next job done
- Less about defeating an opponent and more about finding common ground
In all of this we expect you to become responsibly engaged in the world. Then we shall keep faith with our mission: to influence the affairs of the world by sending into society thoughtful and informed men and women dedicated to the Christian life. In the spirit of that mission
- Faculty will have courage to teach
- Students will have courage to learn
- And all of us will have courage to serve
We will do this because we understand our calling
Because we are in company with the Saints
And because we have been called by God to these glorious tasks.
Soli Deo Gloria, to God alone the glory