Catholic Free Press

Catholic Free Press Digital Edition

  • May
  • 17

Ready to tackle life

Posted By May 17, 2012 | 1:17 pm | Lead Story #3
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By Patricia O’Connell
CFP Correspondent

WORCESTER – Brian Kelly, head football coach at the University of Notre Dame, told Assumption College graduates they’ll be able to tackle all sorts of challenges.
“The students graduating here today, you are ready, you are prepared,” he said.
It was a theme he repeated throughout his address at Assumption’s 95th commencement, held last Saturday.
An alumnus, Kelly also spoke about his time at the college. He graduated in 1983.
“I started my journey just like you did,” he said shortly before diplomas were awarded.
To earn money, Kelly worked for campus security. In his junior year, he was assigned to watch the grounds the night before commencement.
His friends played a prank. About 1,500 folding chairs were set up for the following morning’s ceremonies. They turned each chair backwards.
“When I came back today I made sure all of the chairs were in the right direction,” Kelly joked.
He urged the graduates to pursue not necessarily what was good for them, but what was best for them. “You will get a lot of advice from people close to you that care for you,” he noted.
He recalled how after leaving Assumption, with a bachelor’s degree in political science, he first accepted a job in his field.
However, he eventually left to follow his passion in athletics. He was then confronted with another difficult decision – whether or not to accept a coaching position at Grand Valley State University in Michigan.
Yet, he was prepared for adventure, with his degree from Assumption.
Kelly urged the young adults in the audience to “not get caught up in greatness.”
“It may or may not come,” he advised.
He warned them they are entering a turbulent economic time, with a looming national deficit running in the trillions. “It’s a tough environment for you to go out in,” he noted.
But he said they are, nonetheless, prepared because they’ve lived in a community and lived on campus and they’ve had to find their way over the past four years.
“Be ready to handle adversity, because it will come,” he said, adding that what really matters is how it is handled.
Kelly said the “faith-based” education he received strengthened his identity. He said Catholic education will help when times are tough.
Right now, Kelly said, there is a great need for individuals who put others first.
“When you get there, it’s about service, it’s about giving back, it’s about being other centered,” he said. “Observe the Golden Rule” and treat others as you would like to be treated, he stated.
As he wrapped up his address, Kelly once again assured the graduates their Assumption degree will carry them into the future.
“You don’t have to be anxious about your next step because your compass has already been set,” he said.
It was also announced that Kelly is establishing a $250,000 endowed scholarship for Assumption football players. The college will match this amount in a scholarship fund for female athletes.
Herbert Woodard III, who received his master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling on Saturday, is a former Assumption football player. He was very pleased that Kelly had returned to speak in Worcester.
“I love him,” he said. “I’m a big fan of Brian Kelly.
Kelly also received an honorary degree from Assumption.
In addition, Bishop McManus was given an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree during the commencement.
Frederick L. Bayon, D.M.D., chairman of the board of trustees, presented the degree. He called Bishop McManus an “exemplary shepherd” and “champion of Catholic education.”
Dr. Bayon said that Bishop McManus has vigorously defended morality and trust, and has strived to build community in and beyond the diocese. He said the bishop has collaborated with local colleges on many initiatives, citing specifically the Holy Name of Jesus House of Studies in Worcester. The House of Studies, home of the Office of Vocations, is where seminarians can stay when they work toward their undergraduate degree or study the English language if they are foreign-born.  It was previously announced that seminarians will receive a tuition discount at Assumption.
Dr.  Bayon said Assumption College was “honored” to give the bishop this Doctor of Divinity degree.