At commencement, archbishop expresses his hopes for Bellarmine grads

Dr. Susan Donovan, left, Bellarmine University’s president, shook hands with Archbishop Shelton J. Fabre during the 71st commencement May 11 at Freedom Hall. Dr. Jess Metzmeier, who serves the university as chief government, community and strategic partnership officer, prepared to assist the archbishop with his academic garb. (Record Photo by Ruby Thomas)

Archbishop Shelton J. Fabre delivered a commencement address to Bellarmine University’s undergraduate class of 2024 on May 11, telling them he hopes they not only received a top-quality education but also encountered the Catholic intellectual tradition and made lifelong friends.

During its 71st commencement, Bellarmine conferred 850 degrees to undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students during two ceremonies at Freedom Hall. 

Archbishop Fabre also received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters.

“You have been provided a top-quality education that will help you to enter the job market,” he told the graduates. “You have been far more than adequately prepared to embark upon your next state in life. 

Bellarmine University graduates listened as Archbishop Shelton J. Fabre spoke during the 71st commencement May 11 at Freedom Hall. (Record Photo by Ruby Thomas)

“Because Bellarmine is a Catholic university, your time at Bellarmine was about more than just a top-quality university education,” he explained. “It was also about, what I hope you encountered here, mainly the Roman Catholic intellectual tradition.”

That tradition is a centuries-old quest for truth and how it can be lived, he said. The tradition “embodies itself” in Bellarmine administrators, professors and all those who assist students in this quest, the archbishop said.

“You will not remember what I say here today, but I hope you will never forget the Catholic intellectual tradition, the desire to know and live the truth, which I hope you encountered here at Bellarmine as part of your education,” he said.

During their time at Bellarmine, the archbishop also noted, students have encountered many people among whom, “I hope you’ve nurtured what will be lifelong friendships.”

Archbishop Shelton J. Fabre addressed Bellarmine University’s undergraduate class at the 71st commencement May 11 at Freedom Hall. (Record Photo by Ruby Thomas)

He cautioned the graduates that, though life is a gift, it can be a “difficult reality.” Lifelong friends can “temper” life’s challenges and “deepen” life’s joys, he said. 

“I hope that you’ve encountered those who are disciples of Jesus Christ and maybe even deepened your own friendship with Jesus Christ,” said Archbishop Fabre. 

“Dear graduates, we send you forth with all you’ve learned academically at Bellarmine and also with what I hope you’ve encountered during your time at Bellarmine,” he concluded. “I hope your time at Bellarmine helped to further nurture you to be a person of integrity and truth. A person of good character and a person of lifelong learning.” 

Bellarmine University graduates applauded as Darian Huff, standing, a member of the university’s Army ROTC program, was recognized at the 71st commencement May 11 at Freedom Hall. (Record Photo by Ruby Thomas)
Ruby Thomas
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