Loyola Magazine

Advice as you approach graduation from Loyola

Parents share letter to their daughter on her Commencement

Dear Meredith,

I’ve written many, many notes, cards, letters, and even a manifesto or two to you over our 21 lightning-fast years together...

But none as important and love filled as this one.

From the day we brought you home that steamy hot day in July, you captured our hearts: always easy to smile and laugh with so much affection that soon developed into our big family hugs. Your being a part of our lives made us feel like newlyweds after 18 years of marriage.

It would be easy for me to compile a laundry list of all your achievements through the years. Instead, here’s where you’ve centered yourself and made us most proud.

First, the type of young woman you’ve matured into: kind, compassionate, and committed to your future.

Second, it centers on your unconditional love and respect for our family—past, present and I’m sure, future.

Finally it centers around your constant willingness to positively engage life and your “whatever it takes” attitude.

You’ve always known right from wrong, guided by hope and your eternally positive drive to find the good in people and in life. It’s a part of you we know you will keep for a lifetime.

Meredith sitting with her parents in front of the humanities manor.

That brings us to today, college graduation (I can barely type the words without shaking). Your mother and I have been blessed to help you grow from a bouncing and always laughing baby into a confident and caring young woman.

Your Grandmother Zambito was famous for writing notes like this one, and of all the ones she wrote to me, the one at college graduation means the most. So it’s with all the love in my heart that I share with you some of the advice she gave me:

  1. Always treat people with respect and be nice to everyone.
  2. Always maintain your personal integrity—it defines who you are.
  3. As you begin your career, do something you are truly GREAT at.
  4. Always do what is right and more than people expect you to do.
  5. Maintain BALANCE in your life (now you know where that little pearl came from).

Also remember the chapter on faith from Take the Stairs: Life is made up of a lot of smaller journeys, so be patient and take on the ups and downs head on and with a positive attitude.

The final life lesson I will leave you with is really important: Never let money be the primary motivator for what you decide to do. Success is determined by who you are and how you lead your life.

Saturday, May 16, will be one of the best days of our lives. Mom and I are so very proud to know that you are truly ready to take on what lies ahead, and we have all the confidence and trust in the world you will have a great future. Always know that you will forever be a part of us—on our minds and in our hearts.

We love you and thank you for bringing so much joy into our lives.

All our love on a very special day,
Mom & Dad

Jim and Cathy Zambito wrote this letter to their daughter, Meredith, as she prepared to graduate from Loyola University Maryland on May 16, 2015. Today Meredith, who holds a Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in international business and a minor in communication, works as an account manager at advertising agency TBWA\Chiat\Day in the greater New York City area.

Photo courtesy of the Zambito family.