May 2014 Commencement
The Honorable Patrick A. Mulloy, J.D., LL.M., a Washington, D.C.-based trade lawyer, encouraged Misericordia University graduates to be honest and trustworthy as a way to be successful in their careers and happy in life.
During his address at the university’s 88th annual Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 17, the senior staffer of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee recalled seeing hundreds of confirmation hearings during his 15 years in the position. He said that although many of the people nominated had personal flaws and weaknesses, it did not hinder their being confirmed as long as they told the truth to the committee.
“The Senators felt that if a person was untrustworthy, they could not put them in a position of power,” Mr. Mulloy remarked. “So work to be honest and trustworthy. It will not only make you happier but it will be career-enhancing.”
The assistant secretary in the U.S. Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration during the second Clinton administration addressed the 361 graduates and their families in a ceremony in the Anderson Sports and Health Center.
The graduates in the class hail from 11 states, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Indiana, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Connecticut, Illinois, New Hampshire and Texas, and two foreign countries, South Korea and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Dignitaries at the ceremony included The Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, D.D., J.C.L., Bishop, Diocese of Scranton, who delivered the Benediction, and Thomas J. Botzman, Ph.D., president, Misericordia University.
During his address, Mr. Mulloy paid homage to the university’s founders, the Religious Sisters of Mercy, and discussed how their tenets of Mercy, Service, Justice and Hospitality impact the actions of every member of the campus community.
“Catherine McCauley, who lived as a lay person her first 40 years, founded the Sisters of Mercy in Ireland in 1831 at the age of 50 for the purpose of helping to feed, clothe and educate the poor and less fortunate,” Mr. Mulloy said. “The spirit of that Order has permeated this university since its founding and continues to influence its graduates to use their talents toward the betterment of our society. My brother, John, and his wife, Cindy, are here today and both of them are learning handicapped. They have had the great, good fortune to work in the Dish Room of this University for almost 70 years of combined service. Last year, the Dish Room was dedicated in their honor. This example of honoring what might seem a humble occupation exemplifies the spirit of loyalty and love that Misericordia embodies.”
Mr. Mulloy urged the graduates not to measure their success by acquisition of power, money or influence, but to strive to help others. “Those Sisters of Mercy who devoted their lives to helping the poor and educating the young never achieved those things, but their efforts gave many young people the chance to develop their God-given capabilities. Is that not achieving real success in life?,” he queried.
Mr. Mulloy asked the graduates and their parents to focus on a three issues he feels threaten the nation’s ability to provide “common people” with opportunities to thrive economically.
“America’s massive and ongoing trade deficits of the last 20 years are undermining our economic strength and the standard of living of many of our citizens,” he stated. “We can develop economic policies to make globalization enhance the lives of our citizens. We must set a national goal to balance our trade by a date certain, such as by the end of this decade, and then put in place policies that will enable us to reach our goal.”
He also encouraged a movement to reduce the role of private money in the U.S. political system that he said gives the very wealthy an inordinate influence over the political process and weakens the democratic system. He urged the graduates to resist those who want the U.S. involved in so many foreign conflicts. “We must fight to ensure constitutional procedures are followed before our sons and daughters are sent into foreign conflicts. America will have far more influence in the world if we foster a prosperous and just society at home rather than engage in foreign wars of dubious merit to project our so-called values.”
Mr. Mulloy summarized with a quote from the 1961 inaugural address of President John F. Kennedy, one that he feels was more important than the more often quoted, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”
“I have always felt that the most important point President Kennedy made in that Inaugural Address came at its very conclusion when he said: ‘With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.’ Go forth class of 2014 and do good things with your lives, and God will act through your works to make a better nation and world for you, your families and the generations yet to come,” Mr. Mulloy added.
Misericordia University presented Mr. Mulloy with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.
During the ceremony, Misericordia recognized three valedictorians in the Class of 2014 who each earned a perfect 4.0 grade point average. They are Mary Elizabeth Gulotta, a speech-language pathology graduate from Trucksville, Pa.; Amelia Poplawski, a biochemistry graduate from Plains Twp., Pa.; and Tiffani Sedorovitz, a mathematics graduate with a computer science minor from Mayfield, Pa.
Based on academic criteria, Sedorovitz, who has accepted a graduate teaching assistantship in the Mathematics Department at the University of Denver, Denver, Colo., was selected to give the Commencement address.
Speaking on behalf of her fellow valedictorians, Sedorovitz encouraged the graduates to appreciate the inherent characteristics that make Misericordia special. “We had the privilege to experience so many things that are unique to our university – the small campus in a scenic Back Mountain community full of friendly and helpful people … the beautiful landscapes on warm sunny days … professors who knew your name and whose doors were always open to students who wanted to succeed … and excellent academic resources, ranging from the Student Success Center to the library and the Insalaco Career Center. All of these seem so customary when we experience them every day, but it is important to remember how fortunate we were,” she said.