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2017 Graduates Attend Commencement Ceremonies

May 8, 2017 Tags: Academics , University News

The weather was calling for snow in May, but graduation day turned out to be picturesque in more ways than one. 

Elated family and friends filled the Stokes Degol Arena Sunday, where 759 graduate and undergraduate students received diplomas. 

Julie Meshanko, SFU alum ('00, M.O.T. '01) and staff therapist at the second largest burn center in United States, spoke at the graduate ceremony. Meshanko was one of 32 students who enrolled at Saint Francis in 1996 as the inaugural class of the Occupational Therapy program. She said it was a "leap of faith" worth taking.

"I'm the type of person that lives a little bit on the edge," Meshanko continues, "and I like to make sure that I'm pushing myself, knowing that I have to be on my best game. So not always knowing where we were going an what we were doing made it a bit more interesting."

Today, Occupational Therapy is one of the most popular programs in the School of Health Sciences.

Kim Daniels, layperson serving on the Secretariat for Communication at the Vatican, was the keynote speaker at the undergraduate ceremony. A Washington D.C. lawyer and mother of six, Daniels considers working for Pope Francis "a remarkable honor as a laywoman and as an American". She is one of three laypersons and two women appointed to the secretariat.

Graduation inset 1

Despite her career in Rome, Daniels has has profound ties to Saint Francis.

"My parents went to Saint Francis, and in fact my dad just had his 50th reunion," she said. "Saint Francis not only prepared them for success in their career and in their family life, it also gave them a wonderful group of friends who they've stayed close to since their time at school."

No words could ring truer for the newly minted alums, many of whom have spent several years at Saint Francis forming lifelong friendships and shaping their futures.  

Rev. Malachi Van Tassell, T.O.R., the university’s president, shared many words of wisdom with the new grads, reminding them of the university's Franciscan roots.

"As our students graduate, they go forth with a heart for service formed in the likeness of Saint Francis of Assisi. In the words of Pope Francis, 'Help one another. This is what Jesus teaches us. This is what I do. And I do it with my heart.'"  

Undergrad Commencement 2017

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