Words weighty and buoyant from commencement speakers. And on some of our favorite mortarboards.
On “A civilization to humanize a gravely ill world”
Jon Sobrino, S.J. | Theologian
During his final days in 1989, devoid of all youthful exaltations, Ignacio Ellacuría [the rector of the University of Central America assassinated that November] said tersely that “our civilization is gravely ill” … Myopic, misleading, or hypocritically maintained tributes to globalization cannot hide the disease that threatens our world, and Ellacuría warned of the dangers of “a fateful and fatal outcome” … What can heal this world is what Ellacuría calls “a civilization of poverty” … In his Spiritual Exercises, Ignatius presents two paths, one which leads to salvation and the other to condemnation. One starts with poverty and means that the person following this path, like Christ, will also experience insults and humiliations. We recognize this path as one of humility, one which leads to authentic good. Jesuit School of Theology Commencement | May 24, 2014
On education and childhood development
Frederick Ferrer ’80 | CEO of the Health Trust
Pope Francis, the Jesuit, was talking to the Catholic bishops, and he reminded them of their roles as pastoral shepherds of their flock. And as he reminded them of their role as shepherds, he had an incredible insight. He said to them, “Remember that shepherds smell like sheep.” And then he asked them the question, “What do you smell like?” To be able to be in touch with people—the people who are on the margins—is our call, is our vocation, is our great quest. SCU Graduate Commencement | June 13, 2014
On falling in love with the game
Brandi Chastain ’91 | Olympic gold medal–winning soccer star and kicker of a goal that won the World Cup
My plan was not to go on to be a soccer player and make that my career. My plan was actually to play in the NFL.
As a young girl, I envisioned myself as a lineman on the Pittsburgh Steelers. I was a really great flag football player in sixth grade, probably the best on my team. Well, maybe second to Steven Robertson ’90, also a proud alum of Santa Clara University in men’s soccer.
I didn’t know that I was different from those football players, and I think why that sticks in my mind is that everyone around me gave me the strength, the support, and the encouragement to do whatever it was that I thought was possible. And I feel that that is something that I’ve lived my life going forward with. But I realized that I wasn’t going to be 6-foot-5, 300 pounds. So, things changed a little bit.
It just so happened that in my neighborhood in south San Jose, a girls’ soccer league started. Neither my father nor my mother knew anything about soccer, but we walked down and we signed up. I have to tell you that as soon as that ball hit the ground and I kicked it the first time, I fell in love. SCU Undergraduate Commencement | June 14, 2014
On litigating for human rights in El Salvador 25 years after the killing of the Jesuits at the University of Central America
Almudena Burnabeu | Attorney, Center for Justice and Accountability
I studied the Jesuits’ case for years and knew about an employee at the UCA who was an eyewitness to the assassinations and who, as a consequence of her testimony, was forced to flee El Salvador with her husband and daughter. I had been told that the Jesuits at Santa Clara had been key in helping her and her family. Not only had Santa Clara housed Fr. Jon Sobrino, a dear friend and one of the Jesuits at the UCA to survive the massacre, but [people from Santa Clara] also provided for employment and a sustainable situation for the witnesses. Barely four months into the litigation, Santa Clara University offered to help me. When I asked about this witness, they did not hesitate, and within a week, I met Mr. Jorge and Mrs. Lucía Cerna, who are sitting right now in front of me, and to whom I dedicate today my work, my efforts. SCU Law School Commencement | May 24, 2014