In the words of Father William P. Leahy, S.J. and university president, all freshmen enter their Boston College journeys with something special, that is, their uniqueness.
"We all came with gifts and our talents," Leahy said. The importance however is in reflecting upon those individual abilities and using them appropriately. "Touch your heart and engage those around you," Leahy said. "There are many ways in which each student can serve, grow as a human being and help those around us." Leahy told the class of 2016 that they would be giving life to the community around them for the next four years. But in return, they should be open to the community shaping them, their peers' perspectives, and what they learn both inside and outside of the classroom.
Reflect, listen to your heart, and do good, Leahy said as he left the stage.
Dan Barry, keynote speaker and author of "Bottom of the 33rd", opened his speech by letting the students know the importance of feeling comfortable. He took off his jacket and told the students to do likewise. I know what you are all thinking, Barry began. The Jesuits were thinking it in Latin, the students were tweeting it, and the campus police were radioing code-red orders: what was Dan Barry doing on that stage?
"I hope I didn't ruin your entire summer," Barry said. His intentions in writing the book was not so that the freshmen would have homework before classes even began. The book is based on a minor league baseball game that lasted 33 innings, just about 8 hours. The game of baseball, Barry said, becomes a metaphor because this particular game was held on Holy Saturday and extended into Easter Sunday morning. The eternal symbolism that surrounds this particular game lends itself to mean something for these new Boston College students.
Although, as Leahy said, each student arrives with his or her individual story, it is the weaving of these many stories into one that makes up the class of 2016. Many hearts. One tradition. Among you there are merit scholars, athletes, and valedictorians, Barry said, but that doesn't matter anymore.
"What matters now is now," he said. "This is the last stop before life on your own." This is your moment, freshmen. Like a minor league baseball player, it is required that you try to get to the next level. What matters is that you try. "God doesn't require us to succeed; he only requires that you try," Barry quoted from Mother Theresa.
This is your now.
[Photo Credit: Jessika Parry]