Class of 2017 Commencement


Friends, family and the SLU-Madrid community gathered at the Auditorio 400, Nouvel Building - Museo Reina Sofia to celebrate the 2017 Commencement Ceremony. The University conferred degrees to 61 graduates from 22 countries and 7 U.S. states. 

Graduates marched into the auditorium in the Nouvel Building, accompanied by live bagpipe music, performed by Professor Hamish Binns (English as a Second Language). Students Maha Alali and Marianne Atieh 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, Leila Seffar and Christian Roberts. Jaime Ortiz (Advising) served as this year's Master of Ceremonies alongside Faculty Marshall, Marjory Hutchison de Medina (English).

Leila reflected on how she had challenged herself beyond her comfort zone during her time in Madrid, as evidenced by the very fact that she delivered her speech in Spanish, which was not a native language for her. She spoke of her aspirations to continue to challenge herself after graduation, and she encouraged her peers to do the same.

With his clever anecdotes and witty quips, Christian charmed the audience as he spoke about everything from studying for a demanding Operations Management exam to enjoying the city nightlife. He ended his speech on a more serious note, encouraging his classmates go out into the world and live the University's mission.

This year's commencement speaker was Joseph Weixlmann, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus from Saint Louis University. Dr. Weixlmann served as SLU's Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences (2001-2002), then as the University's Provost (2002-2009), before returning to the English faculty. During his distinguished academic career, he edited the quarterly journal African American Review and received grants from the NEH, NEA, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund, among others.

In his address, Weixlmann spoke about the importance of multicultural education in the tumultuous times we are living in. He reminded graduates that their Jesuit education has provided them with the thoughts, values and discernment needed to become forces of good in today's changing world.

SLU President Dr. Fred Pestello also congratulated the graduates in a personalized video message. He declared them sons and daughters of Saint Louis University forever and encouraged them to heed the call of St. Ignatius and go forth as men and women for others.

Congratulations to the graduates, their families and friends!

May 16, 2017
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