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Power Outage Doesnt Drain Grads Energy

Even a power outage on campus couldn’t take the energy and excitement out of Notre Dame College’s 86th commencement this past Saturday as 179 graduates received their diplomas from NDC President Dr. Andrew Roth.

“The mark of a liberally educated person is the ability to think on their feet and to solve problems," Dr. Roth told the graduates and their guests during the baccalaureate mass at St. Gregory the Great Church in South Euclid.

CommencementThose problem-solving skills were put to a test when a power failure made the commencement celebration at the Regina High School auditorium impossible. Within two hours, the College redesigned graduation day and relocated commencement to St. Gregory’s, which generously offered to host the festivities.

With the help of shuttle buses, the graduates, their families and friends made the one-mile-long trip from NDC’s parking lot to the church and back.

At St. Gregory’s, graduation went off as planned with three award-winning students delivering the commencement addresses.

“Today we have accomplished something great and worthwhile,” said Antonello Cotugno, M.Ed., the St. Catherine of Alexandria Award winner. “Our education is something rare and precious and learning is a life-long gift. Never take it, or the people who have helped us to reach our goals for granted.”

The Sr. Mary LeRoy Finn Award winner, Sarah Nank, who graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor of arts in psychology, picked up the College’s mission in her speech.

“To me, personal responsibility is more about love than anything else,” Nank said. “It’s loving your neighbor, your classmate, your co-worker, your community, your world; it’s loving all of those people so unconditionally that you feel obligated to act accordingly.”

Education major Mike Mannozzi received the Sr. Mary Agnes Bosche Award. In his speech, Mannozzi drew comparisons between college life and his sport, race walking, in which he won a national championship this year.

“The most exciting part of the race is crossing the finish line, especially when you finish first,” Mannozzi said. “It’s the point when all the pressure is finally gone. You may be exhausted, but you are excited that you have reached your goal. That’s how we feel today: exhausted, but happy. We have all worked hard to come this far, and we deserve to celebrate.”

And celebrate they did – in Notre Dame’s Keller Center, thanks to some generators the maintenance department had set up. But judging by the excitement displayed throughout the day, the crowd’s energy probably would have been enough to keep the festivities going. 

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By Christian Taske '07, editor and writer at Notre Dame College.