Commencement 2022: “Speak the Truth; Speak It Beautifully!”

On the morning of Monday, May 23rd, much to the satisfaction of their assembled family and friends, the thirty-seven members of this year’s senior class received their diplomas, marking the completion of an extraordinary four-year adventure. For these young men and women (and the standing-room-only audience that filled the Lander Community and Convention Center to capacity), the Commencement ceremony was the final, emotional chapter in the story of their time in Lander, and as would be expected from an event bringing such a once-in-a-lifetime experience to a close, the morning was filled with nostalgic and fond reminiscing. But there was a sense of excitement and eager enthusiasm in the air, as well, since this Commencement marked the beginning of another, even more important story: the future adventures and successes of Wyoming Catholic College’s Class of 2022.

In the Senior Address, delivered annually by a senior selected for that honor by his or her classmates, Andrew Russell spoke to his fellow graduates of the obligations their extraordinary education placed upon them—obligations that would begin the moment they left the Community Center’s stage. “Now it is time for the family we have formed here to disperse and go out into the world,” he said. “We are called to live out the lofty principles we have inherited from the noble dead of the centuries, and practice them in the hear-and-now.” He exhorted them to take these obligations seriously, saying that “we, the young generation of Catholic intellectuals, cannot circumvent or flee the blackhole [that characterizes much of the culture around us]. We must dive into it, shake its hand, strike up a conversation, politely decline its immoral offers…but above all, we must love it. Because the modern age is other people, just like us.”

Russell had advice to offer, as well. “If you really want to save the world,” he said, “tell it a story. Tell it about Aristotle, who tried to understand the nature of reality through experimentation and philosophy, and ended up discovering the Creator. Tell it about Scaevolus, who put the good of his city above his own, and willingly burnt off his right hand. Tell it about Thrasymachus, who preached that ‘might makes right,’ and then tell how Socrates utterly humiliated him. And tell it about Christ, about His infinite condescension, His humility, His providence, and His love. This is why the Gospels were written as stories. We all took rhetoric and we all gave orations, so we know that it is not enough to speak the truth. You have to speak it beautifully.”

This year’s Commencement speaker was Dr. R. R. “Rusty” Reno, Editor and Executive Director of First Things, which has long described as one of the country’s leading ecumenical and conservative religious journals, aimed at “advanc[ing] a religiously informed public philosophy for the ordering of society.” His Commencement Address touched on many of the same themes as Russell’s, and he told the graduates that he welcomed “the opportunity to spell out the service your education is calling you to give to our troubled society. I commission you graduating seniors to become beacons of joy. Continue to read, continue to reflect. Take something of your heart, uplifted by the mountain sunrise, and share it with your fellow citizens. And most importantly, live with the knowledge and the joy that we are children of God.”

He warned them against succumbing to the technocratic forces that lie behind and propel forward so much of modernity’s errors, echoing Saint John Henry Cardinal Newman’s insistent understanding that mankind’s desire to know is “an enlarging desire”—one that expands and enriches the minds of all who pursue the truth. “Your witness of freedom is precious in today’s environment,” he said.

Dr. Reno closed by “emphasizing again the importance of what you have received, dear students, at Wyoming Catholic College. You graduates are leaving this place with a love of learning and devotion to truth. These words—love and devotion—need to be emphasized in everything that we say and do. These dispositions, so rare in our time, are truly revolutionary. And we need, now more than ever, a revolution of love’s devotion.”

The Class of 2022:
William John Albers (Glenwood, IA)
Mary Felicity Amorose (Mesa, AZ)
Janelle Valerie Baur (Denzil, SK Canada)
Jeremiah Francis Baur (St. Clair Shores, MI)
Peter James Beckman (Barkhamsted, CT)
Theodore John Benz (Bennett, CO)
Camille Elaine Callaway (Austin, TX)
John Edward Collins (Ojai, CA)
Ciely Irene Daly (Vashon Island, WA)
Olivia Nevis de Laveaga (Flagstaff, AZ)
Timothy Michael Dominick, Jr. (Joliet, IL)
Rosemary Seona-Elaine Engles (Fort Collins, CO)
Brendan James Floody (Cumming, GA)
Emily Therese Gecosky (Walled Lake, MI)
James Raynor Green (Carmel, IN)
Bernadette Rose Holmes (Lander, WY)
Emma Christine Jermann (Mariottsville, MD)
Margaret Katherine Johnson (Coventry, RI)
Ruth Christina Kress (Hudson, NY)
Matthew John Kubisch (Bloomington, IN)
John Robert Malinoski (Indianapolis, IN)
Hanna Beatrice Massell (Surprise, AZ)
Andrew Patrick Matthews (Joseph, OR)
Emily Irene Mistaleski (Grand Haven, MI)
Joseph Timothy Nemec (Taylor, TX)
Andrew Francis Russell (Batavia, IL)
Daniel Christopher Schreiber (Mukwonago, WI)
MaryAnne Theresa Spiess (Derwent, AB Canada)
Thomas Edward Sponseller (Lakewood, CO)
Kathy Rose Swift (Flagstaff, AZ)
John Muzzy Swindell (Blacksburg, VA)
Bernadette Marie Syversen (Stanfordville, NY)
Bernadette Marie Wall (Mariposa, CA)
Elaine Grace White (Woodstock, VA)
Louisa Lyons Whitmore (Austin, TX)
Anne deLivaudais Zelden (New Orleans, LA)
Jacob Kolbe Zepp (Appleton, WI)

Related College News