“As part of Marymount’s final graduating class, you have already learned one of life’s most important lessons: Things change,” said Carolyn N. Dolan (MC ’68), founding principal at Samson Capital Advisors, who delivered the keynote address at Marymount College of Fordham University’s final diploma ceremony on Sunday, May 20 on Kenny Memorial Field in Tarrytown. “You have to make the best of what is. And then you have to move on.”
More than 200 women received bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degrees, applauded by more than 1,200 family members and friends in a ceremony that was by turns poignant and raucous. Each speaker noted that the Class of 2007 was the college’s last in its 100-year history, and each graduate was cheered enthusiastically by her classmates as she stepped up to the stage to receive her diploma.
“You will always cherish your Marymount identity,” said Dolan, who is a member of the Fordham University Board of Trustees and the University’s President’s Council. “And I’m sure you will come to appreciate your Fordham ties as well. Both—and I really stress this to you—both will help you build bridges far beyond this campus and for the rest of your lives.”
She offered the centennial class the “Top Ten Secrets of Success,” the first of which was that success “is as much about endurance and perseverance as it is about being smart.” Dolan, a social worker turned investment banker, also drew laughter and applause in making points about trusting one’s “inner compass,” and not being seduced by the “me generation’s approach to life” in which “Americans work at jobs they hate, to make more than they need, so they can buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like.”
Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham University, acknowledged the bittersweet nature of the ceremony, calling the newly-minted alumnae’s time at Marymount “a particularly rich and challenging journey,” and said they had “responded to the challenges of the past few years with grace beyond counting, with wisdom beyond measure and with love beyond all telling.”
Addressing the “extraordinarily lively Class of 2007,” Father McShane noted that graduate Nell McGloin-King, the student speaker, was truthful when she said the Marymount contingent of 45 women had out-cheered a Fordham College at Rose Hill class of 800 at the previous day’s Commencement. He went on to praise the graduates’ esprit, and exhorted them to “Be curious. Allow wonder to be a part of your life…. Listen to and embrace the world, and as you have done here, make its joys and sorrows your own.”
He also acknowledged the contributions of the faculty, and the members of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary. “Wise mentors, loving guides and shining role models, they have challenged the graduates to question, to break barriers and to grow to the full possession of the many gifts and talents that God has given them,” Father McShane said. “In the process, the members of the faculty of Marymount College have become more—far more—than mere teachers. They have become trusted friends and strong advocates for all of the members of the graduating class.”
To the graduates, Father McShane said, “Be always women for others, and sweep light into the dark corners of human life. If you do so, the sprit of Marymount will live—and it will continue to transform the world, one heart, one soul, one person, one remarkable woman at a time—as it has for 100 years.”