President Thayne M. McCulloh

In these early decades of the 21st century, technology has enabled us to access information about virtually anything, nearly anywhere, in just seconds. The wonders of global positioning satellites and the capabilities of an enormous worldwide internet infrastructure have fundamentally changed not only how our students access information, but how they learn (and are taught).

These continuous streams of data bring new levels of awareness regarding the challenges that affect our nation, and our world, as well. We are constantly reminded of the enormous number of international crises that plague humanity – from the conflict in Syria to wars in Africa, environmental crises in Japan and terrorism in China. Awareness comes to us via “tweets,” texts, 24-hour news and You Tube; other injustices remain hidden, more systemic and even more costly in terms of human life.

Class of 2014
Gonzaga’s 121st Commencement

An estimated 1,164 seniors, 944 graduate students, 19 doctoral and 165 law students will graduate May 10 and 11.

At times, it can become overwhelming. But then, I look at what our alumni are doing, how are faculty are teaching, and who our students are becoming – and I regain a sense of hope.

Just a few weeks ago, as our students headed out for spring break and a quiet calm descended upon the campus, I spoke to a group of 40 incredibly talented high school seniors at the beginning of our annual Ignatian Leaders Scholarship Competition. The competition has now been held for 13 years, and brings together students who are thinking about making Gonzaga their home for the next four years.

I explained to them Gonzaga’s foundational purpose, as a mission of the Society of Jesus and the Church: to support the continued development of intellectually gifted, ethical and faith-filled leaders just like them – people who will be challenged to discover and create their own unique expression of serving the common good. I remain convinced that Gonzaga truly is a place where each individual matters, a place committed to supporting every student on this important journey.

The speakers we invite reflect this commitment as well. Siddharth Kara, who has dedicated his life to researching global modern-day slavery and sex trafficking, joined us on April 1 as our Spring 2014 Presidential Speaker. He related how his undergraduate experience oriented him to awareness of human abuse that staggers the mind. His findings, which relate the nearly comprehensive use of slavery and child labor to produce certain merchandise that is exported to the United States and elsewhere, is cause for deep reflection and an invitation to action.

In just a few weeks, Gonzaga’s 121st Commencement will be upon us. Once again, we will send forth a new class of graduates out into the world that so desperately needs them – their creativity, their enthusiasm, their humanity. They – like so many who have preceded them, as well as those high school seniors who will join us in the fall – will be ready.

Please know, as always, how very grateful we are for your support and your prayers. In this Easter season, may the joy of the Risen Christ be with you and yours, now and forever!

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