Celebrating the Class of 2018
Friends, family and the SLU-Madrid community celebrated the 2018 Commencement Ceremony at an intimate and festive event. The University conferred degrees to 30 graduates from 13 countries and 8 U.S. states. The Class of 2018 donned special edition 50th anniversary stolls and tassles in celebration of five decades of of SLU's Madrid campus.
The graduates marched into the auditorium of the Colegio del Buen Consejo, accompanied by live bagpipe music performed by Professor Hamish Binns (Modern Languages). Aleksandar Antic '18 opened the ceremony with a warm welcome. After Rev. James O'Leary S.J. led the invocation, Director and Academic Dean Paul Vita, Ph.D. reflected on the importance of the day and introduced the student speakers, Izabel Trizlova '18 and Vera Abreu ‘18.
In a refreshingly honest and endearing speech, Izabel reflected on one of the most important lessons she learned during her undergraduate career: to trust and search for motivation within herself. She encouraged her classmates to "search for that spark within you that makes you reach for the stars" and believe in your dreams.
In keeping with the tradition of a bilingual ceremony, Vera Abreu delivered her address in Spanish, a second language which she truly mastered during her time at SLU-Madrid. Vera reflected on how the SLU-Madrid provided a unique and transformative experience for her, both inside and outside the classroom.
Jaime Ortiz (Advising) served as this year's Master of Ceremonies alongside long-time Faculty Marshall, Marjory Hutchison de Medina (English). On the eve of her retirement, Professor Hutchison's participation was particularly meaningful and evoked a teary standing ovation.
This year's commencement speaker was Dr. Chandrabali Ghose-Paul. Dr. Ghose-Paul started her university studies at SLU-Madrid. She completed her B.S. and M.S in Biology in SLU-St. Louis and before earning a second Master of Science and a Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences at New York University School of Medicine. Currently the Chief Executive Officer of Bioharmony Therapeutics Corporation, her brilliant career is one that is distinguished by both cutting-edge, life-saving medical research and business leadership.
In her address, Dr. Ghose-Paul described the incredible life journey that was set in motion when she received a postcard from the SLU-Madrid Office of Admissions. Now a leading researcher on infectious diseases and distinguished entrepreneur, she provided five valuable "pearls" of wisdom to the Class of 2018. Among other reflections, she encouraged students to follow their passions and take risks. On a less serious note, she challenged graduates to go out and learn blockchain!
SLU President Dr. Fred Pestello also congratulated the graduates in a personalized video message. "You are prepared to share joy with those who are low, direction with those who are lost, and hope with those who live in fear," he told them. The video came to a close as he officially declared them sons and daughters of Saint Louis University forever.
Congratulations to the graduates, their families and friends!