Graduation 2013

John Paul the Great Catholic University held its 5th annual commencement on Saturday, September 7, 2013. Undergraduate BS degrees in Communications Media and Business were awarded to 30 students, MBA degrees in Film Producing were awarded to five students, and the University's first MA degrees in Biblical Theology were awarded to three students.

In his welcome President Connolly described the GIFT that Families made to the Institution entrusting it with their son's and daughter's intellectual, spiritual, and human formation. In return, he thanked so many of the Families for their expressed gratitude to the Institution for the formation received. He suggested Families and Institution together thank God - the source of all gifts. He charged the graduates to take their Talents, which were finely tuned while at JP Catholic - to impact culture for Christ. In summary, GIFT = God, Institution, Families, Talent.

Institutional Awards were presented to exceptional graduates:

  • Valedictorian - Tessa Rocker
  • The Founders' Award - Nik Sternhagen
  • Business Acumen - Alec Calzada
  • Artistic Visionary - Emily Deady

In his charge to the graduates Prof. Nathan Scoggins, who was selected by the graduating seniors, declared at the outset that his speech was NOT for today, but for six months, or a year, or five years from now - because that is when they will need it. He shared four principles:

  • God is Not Who You Think He Is. God is Who God is. And your life will be about the space between.
  • Unless it is dark, you cannot see the stars.
  • Pursue significance, not success.
  • You are Loved.

In his conclusion Prof Scoggins suggested to the graduates to imagine what could happen if you loved one person the way they had never been loved before but needed to - and imagine if that person was able to then love one other person the way they needed to - and that person loved one other person the way they needed to - and that person, and that person. Imagine the possibilities. Imagine what could happen. Because Love can change the world.

Read Prof. Scoggins' full speech here