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Make Your Lives a Classic, Novelist Tells Ave Maria Graduates

clark1Ave Maria University graduates have now written the prologue of their lives, novelist Mary Higgins Clark said in her speech at the university's commencement Saturday. Now, she said, graduates need to "write the story of your lives so it becomes more than a bestseller. Write it and live it so it becomes a classic."

The class of 2010 at AMU had 86 undergraduates who received bachelor's degrees. In addition, the university conferred 14 master's degrees in theology, 31 master's in theological studies from the Institute of Pastoral Theology and two doctorate degrees in theology.

Mrs. Clark (at right, receiving an honorary doctorate degree from the university)told the graduates that she was given a gift of being a storyteller and she believes every person has been given a special gift. "Find it. Feel it inside you. Then nurture it to fruition."

The best-selling authvaledictorianor, who has actively supported numerous Catholic causes, also challenged graduates to provide moral leadership for society at large. "In our increasingly secular society, too often, traditional values have been replaced by situational ethics. As graduates of Ave Maria, you have the opportunity to become moral leaders in a world where so frequently moral values are consigned to the dustbin."

AMU President Nicholas Healy also touched on that theme in his opening remarks, telling graduates, "You will be the natural leaders in the renewal of our society. It is you who will defend the civilization of the West which has been under remorseless attack for decades from within and without."

The 2010 valedictorian, Kathleen Dunleavy (left, with AMU President Healy and Chancellor Tom Monaghan), urged her fellow graduates to think of others as they go out into the world.

"As Cardinal O'Malley said in his homily" [at the baccalaureate mass Friday], " we cannot go wrong if our plans are aimed at the giving of ourselves in the service of others," Miss Dunleavy said. "May we remember that success will not come from looking inward and aiming for fulfillment of personal needs and satisfaction, but from looking outward as we give ourselves in service."

The university awarded a total of three honorary doctorate degrees during graduation events, to Cardinal Sean O'Malley, archibishop of Boston; Mrs. Clark and Catholic philanthropist Frank Hanna III.




Left, graduates applauding during the commencement.

Right, faculty, graduates and guests leaving the oratory following the ceremonies.

Below, the traditional "hat toss" following graduation.

 The Ft. Myers News-Press has several graduation pictures on their website here.

grads4The following students were awarded honors for the academic year:

Valedictorian: Kathleen Marie Dunleavy
Salutatorian: Lorie Lynn Ceniza

BASumma Cum Laude: Lorie Lynn Ceniza, James Nicholas Doherty, Kathleen Marie Dunleavy.

BA Magna Cum Laude: Philip Kohl Buckley, Rose A. Deffenbaugh, Stephanie Marie DeVito, Elizabeth Margaret Sullivan, Elizabeth Anne Gotlund.

BA Cum Laude: Nathaniel Phillips Page, Mariana Souza-Plasencia, Miranda J. Whalen, Jessica Wasko.

Master of Theological Studies Cum Laude: John Christopher Harned.

MA Summa Cum Laude: Jalen Alexander, Sarah Jean Louise Kaiser.

MA Cum Laude: Matthew Michael Breuninger, Kyrie Joy Henderson, Douglas John McCauley.

Academic Department Awards
Biology and Chemistry: Phillip Kohl Buckley
Economics: Kathleen Marie Dunleavy
History: Elizabeth Margaret Sullivan
Literature: Audrey Marie Seghers
Mathematics: James Joseph Fox
Music: Elizabeth Anne Gotlund
Philosophy: James Nicholas Doherty
Theology: Lorie Lynn Ceniza


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