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Loyola celebrates Class of 2015 at 163rd Commencement Exercises

| By Nick Alexopulos
Loyola University Maryland commencement 2015

More than 1,200 students received baccalaureate and professional degrees at Loyola University Maryland’s 163rd Commencement Exercises at Royal Farms Arena in downtown Baltimore on May 16, 2015.

Loyola’s president, Rev. Brian F. Linnane, S.J., received an honorary degree in recognition of his first decade of exemplary service to the University and became a member of the Class of 2015 along with 866 undergraduate and 354 graduate students. In his address, he reflected on the recent unrest in Baltimore, urging new Loyola graduates to lead others in the movement against injustice.

“Think of the opportunity you have over your lifetime to transform the world into a richer and more beautiful version of the one we know today. By recognizing the potential that lies within each person, you can help realize God’s vision for all of his people,” said Fr. Linnane. “Find your own Baltimore. Find a place you can learn to love deeply—even with its flaws and struggles. Invest yourself in a community that will benefit from your efforts. Make a real difference not just for the sake of giving back—but also because you truly care about and believe in the future of that community.”

Commencement speaker R. Nicholas Burns, director of the Future Diplomacy Project at Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, told the graduating students that his generation is handing the baton to their generation.

“What are our hopes for you as you graduate today?” he said. “That you will protect and defend voting rights and civil rights and end at long last discrimination in our country against African Americans and other minorities. That after Ferguson, New York, Charleston, and now Baltimore, you’ll help us to return peace to our streets and justice to our society. That you find a way to close the income gap by helping the poor and rebuilding the core of our society—the middle class—because the survival of the American dream and the 21st century may depend upon that.”

Telling graduates that their generation may become the largest group of Americans working overseas, Burns advised the Class of 2015 to “take their place in the American story.”

“As I—like you—am a product of a Jesuit university, I truly believe that your Loyola education has given you something infinitely greater in these complicated and often vividly materialistic times. Character does matter. And your own beliefs, your ideals, and your hopes for the future—that’s going to be your guidepost as you go along in life beyond Loyola,” said Burns, who also received an honorary degree.

This year’s other honorees were:

York Road Partnership
The Milch Award

The Reverend James F. Salmon, S.J., Ph.D.
The Newman Medal

John R. Cochran III, ’73, Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa ’07
The Carroll Medal

Joseph S. Keelty, ’43
The President’s Medal

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