Saint Louis University

Saint Louis University celebrated the accomplishments and achievements of the Class of 2013 during its annual Commencement celebration.

Precommencement ceremonies began on May 16, the annual Baccalaureate Mass was held May 17 and the festivities culminated with the celebration of the Commencement exercises May 18.

During this year's event, motivational speaker John Foppe; businessmen and entrepreneurs Metee Auapinyakul and Chanin Vongkusolkit; and St. Louis civic leaders Joe and Loretta Scott were awarded honorary degrees.

Foppe was also this year's graduation speaker and encouraged graduates to break out of their comfort zone and take chances despite the obstacles they may face.

"Today, I urge you to take a different path," Foppe said. "Finding your higher purpose and greater good necessitates an awareness of your deeper calling. Listen. Look. Learn. ... I urge you to continue what the Jesuits have taught you. 'Be a person for others.' Be open, be bold, and be persistent."

University President Lawrence Biondi, S.J., also spoke, reminding the new alumni of the support they have and will continue to receive from friends, family and the University.

Confetti cannons go off at the end of the 2013 Commencement Ceremony. Photo by Steve Dolan

"You leave us today as well-educated adults who have been formed and informed by a set of Judeo-Christian and Jesuit values, ethics and principles that hopefully have transformed you with a deeper feeling of confidence in your God-given talents," Biondi remarked.

"As you leave Saint Louis University and continue on your own journey, I can promise you this: You will succeed in the 'gritty reality' of our world if you stay true to the mission, the values and the spirit of Saint Louis University - the gifts we have given you."

At the conclusion of the ceremony, for the first time ever, the graduates were surprised with confetti and streamers.

Find the complete ceremony online and learn how to purchase a DVD of the event. For more information about the 2013 Commencement Ceremony, visit