AMU 2012 Valedictorian Speech

Uploaded by AveMariaUniversityFL on 12.06.2012

It is a pleasure for me to introduce to you the Valedictorian for the graduating class
of 2012, Miss Monica Maria Waldstein.
Monica is the daughter of two of our great professors here at Ave Maria University, Susan
and Michael Waldstein. Monica earned a GPA of 3.95 here at Ave Maria and, next fall,
she will be attending medical school at Creighton University. Monica was a great help for our
department. She was very active in the Ave Maria community in general. For the department
of biology and chemistry, she tutored students and she contributed to other activities with
great enthusiasm. She was a joy to have in class and we all have very fond memories of
Monica. Ladies and gentlemen, Monica Maria Waldstein.
In the name of the graduating class, I would first like to thank our parents, the origins
of our powers to see, to know and to love. I'd like to thank our founder, Tom Monaghan,
President Towey, and all the administrators and staff for making this education possible.
Most of all, I want to thank our faculty. It is your untiring faith and devotion which
makes Ave Maria University what it is, a place where we learn to open our eyes and hearts
to see and understand the amazing complexity and beauty of the world from the chemical
structure of DNA, to the hierarchy of being. This semester, in metaphysics, I was deeply
moved by a text of St. Thomas. He says, "It is in order to imitate in whatsoever manner
the divine beauty that all things are made." Riding home on my bike, I looked around at
the palm trees and the lakes. I felt the sun on my face, and I listened to the birds and
wind. I looked, felt and listened differently. I had seen the beauty of the world before,
and I knew that all of it came from God, but I had never so explicitly thought about it.
everything was showing me, in some way God's beauty. It was an amazing experience. Pieper's
definition of liesure struck me with new force after that bike ride. "Liesure," he says,
"consists in a courageous and hopeful 'Yes' to one's own nature, to the world as a whole
and to God, and for this reasons, it consists in love." Dear, dear fellow, now officially,
graduates, so as not to put you to sleep, I am following the clear method of Fr. McTeigue's
wonderful homilies. A slogan, a story, and three things to do. I already told you the
story. It was about a bike, not a neice. I'm a science major after all. Here's the slogan,
"Don't live to work. Work to live." Now, we had a beautiful talk about the importance
work from Governor Jeb Bush, but I want to talk about what's beyond work, what's more
important than work. We're all influenced by a culture which values work above everything,
because work is useful. The problem is that all useful things point to something beyond
themselves to some good for which they are useful. So, if everything were useful, nothing
would be good. Let us not get stuck in the useful. We should, rather, celebrate life
with thanksgiving, life is better than useful. Here are the three things which I'd like you
to do which I got from my bike ride. First look, listen, and love. Look, look around
you and actually see everything. Listen, listen to all the small noises and beautiful music.
And love, love every circumstance and day and person that God allows you to expereince.
The beauty of Christ, the Bridegroom is shining through all these gifts. Living is a feast
of thanksgiving celebrating the Bridegroom's beauty. This is the true content and outcome
of our education here. If a liberal education means anything, it means this. Thank you.