Catholic Free Press

Catholic Free Press Digital Edition

  • May
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Moral compass guides the way

Posted By May 16, 2013 | 12:36 pm | Lead Story #2

By Michael O’Connell
CFP Correspondent

WORCESTER – Amanda Bollacker came to her graduation ceremony hoping to be inspired by Boston FBI leader Richard DesLauriers. She wasn’t disappointed.
“I enjoyed how he talked about the values of the college and his accomplishments here,” the Assumption College graduate said, standing in the rain with her classmates and family members outside the Plourde Recreation Center following the May 11 ceremony.
“It showed how the values here will bring us to great places if we follow them,” Bollacker said.
DesLauriers, a 1982 graduate of Assumption, has enjoyed a distinguished career at the FBI, leading up to his present position as Special Agent in Charge of the agency’s Boston Field Division. In the last three years alone, his office has presided over several notable cases – the arrest of mob leader James “Whitey” Bulger, the naming of likely suspects in the 1990 Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum art heist, and the Joint Terrorism Task Force investigation into the recent Boston Marathon bombings.
In his talk to the 605 Assumption graduates, DesLauriers did not give details about the high-profile cases that have defined his career. He didn’t mention the alleged Marathon bombers by name, and he steered clear of controversies regarding the burial of one deceased suspect and Boston Police Superintendent Ed Davis’ comments questioning the FBI’s inability to share information about suspected terrorist threats connected to the Marathon.
DesLauriers focused his talk on three key lessons he learned at Assumption – and how they prepared him for a successful career in law enforcement.
He said his Assumption education taught him to think logically and in a reasoned and analytical manner.
“My coursework provided me with a foundation of organized thought derived from the greatest ‘thinkers’ of the ages,” he told the crowd, assembled under a huge outdoor tent near Assumption’s sports fields.
“In the FBI, this skill set has allowed me to form well-founded conclusions culled from the analysis of complex fact patterns, so that the FBI Agents under my command can undertake the most effective investigative actions possible to mitigate the numerous national security and criminal threats faced by our nation on a daily basis in the post-9/11 world. Without the ability to think logically, and in a reasoned and analytical manner, I would not be effective in this critically important mission. Each of you also possesses this critically important skill set, which will pave the road to your professional success.”
DesLauriers said Assumption helped him develop strong writing skills – which FBI agents need to ensure that their reports stand up to the highest degree of scrutiny in federal courts.
“The writing skills I perfected through my liberal arts education at Assumption have no doubt been one of the keys to being an effective special agent of the FBI, and this skill will also be a key to your professional success in whatever field you choose,” he said.
Third, he pointed out, Assumption gave him a “moral compass.”
“This characteristic, in my opinion, is absolutely essential to success in the workplace, and to broader success in life itself,” DesLauriers said. “Possessing a moral compass is as vitally important today as it was when I graduated from Assumption College 31 years ago, especially in a world which today so often appears morally agnostic, and where clear lines differentiating right from wrong are frequently blurred by greed, pride, envy, and any other of the ‘seven deadly sins.’”
Assumption President Francesco Cesareo and Valedictorian Hannah-Lee Hilsman covered similar themes in their talks, pointing to the ways the college has helped prepare the class of 2013 for its journey.
“Today is a day of celebration, but also one of responsibility,” Cesareo said. “As you prepare to go forth from Assumption where your education has fostered a nobility of character, a mind open to infinite beauty, and a heart that banishes selfishness, along with the faculty, staff and administration I congratulate you on all that you have accomplished, and I challenge you to take what you have learned to live a life beyond the self by contributing your time and talent in service to the community so as to create a better world for future generations.”
Hilsman talked about how Assumption has instilled a sense of pride in being known as “Hounds” – short for Greyhounds, the school’s team nickname. Being a “Hound,” she said, means being part of a community whose values permeate the campus – its residence halls, academic programs, extra-curricular activities, football-tossing sessions in the Quad, and bonds of friendship and support.
“We have received an Assumption College education, an education that has shaped us into a community of contemplative, informed individuals with the skills and knowledge to work together to change the world,” Hilsman said. “We are – and always will be – Hounds.”
The graduation ceremony also included the awarding of honorary degrees – to DesLauriers; presidential historian Stephen F. Knott; and college benefactor and retired construction company owner  Raymond J. Lauring – and a blessing delivered by Bishop McManus.
After graduation, the class of 2013 marched across campus, dodging raindrops, getting ready to take on the world.
Amanda Bollacker, the Newington, Conn., graduate who was inspired by DesLauriers, celebrated with her family, wearing a mortarboard that she had decorated with a silver Sharpie pen. She had inscribed the words “I Made It, Dad,” dedicating the day to her late father Ron, who died in 2009.
Elsewhere in the crowd, Derek Campbell of Mashpee said he’s preparing to help out at his father’s restaurant this summer and move on to a career in sales. He was slapping hands, making jokes and looking forward to his future.
How does he feel?
“Stoked! Ready to make it happen,” he said, smiling, looking around at all the umbrellas. “Ready to keep it raining.”