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At 141st Commencement Exercises, A Fond Farewell for Class of 2017

U.S. Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania implored the Class of 2017 to dedicate themselves to service in his Commencement address Monday morning.

“As a Holy Cross alum … you can imagine my surprise when Father Leahy asked me to speak,” Casey said, although he listed off a slew of family connections to Boston College. “So I hope I’ve established some BC street cred.”

After he graduated from college, Casey spent a year in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, teaching and coaching basketball. There was a girl he remembered from his days with the JVC, and one day 20 years later, as he was running for the Senate, the girl showed up at his campaign office. Since he’d seen her, Casey said, she had had a hard life—although now she worked as a foster parent for kids who had been abused. Casey asked her how she did that work.

“Sometimes our burdens can become our blessings,” she said.

“She taught me so much that day about what it means to serve,” Casey said.

The U.S., he added, needs adults to serve, especially as only one-third of American adults are getting a college degree.

“Your labor will bring healing and hope to the least, the last, and the lost,” he said. “To our graduates I say: please accept the sacred invitation to live in the light of service.”

Featured Image by Lizzy Barrett / Heights Editor

May 22, 2017