2024 Commencement

US Ambassador Joe Donnelly Addresses CCSJ Graduating Class

WHITING, IN – US Ambassador to the Holy See Joe Donnelly addressed a full house at Calumet College of St. Joseph’s annual Commencement on Saturday, as families gathered to celebrate the accomplishments of their loved ones. The former Senator welcomed graduates, noting that he was “like so many of you, a first-generation student. No one in my family had gone to college,” but through the faith, persistence, and support of his loved ones, he managed to complete his degrees. He acknowledged the difficult social and political environment that students would be entering, reminding them that “There will always be tough times, but on the other side of those are the best times,” and encouraged those assembled, through their hard work, to make the world a better place.

President Amy McCormack echoed these sentiments, recognizing that students were graduating into a “challenging world where the rate of change is staggering,” and inspiring them to “dare to be” themselves in spite of the difficulties. She reflected on the virtues of St. Joseph and Mother Cabrini, calling upon graduates to “show compassion and serve the greater good” as those role models did.

Aaron Csok, of Austria, delivered valedictory remarks. He took a moment during his delivery to directly address his parents in German, their native tongue. “Danke,” he thanked them, for supporting his educational “adventure to the United States,” before prompting graduates to follow similar dreams, urging them to be “passionate, not just profit-oriented.”

Prior to commencement exercises, Edwin Verde, a native of East Chicago, reflected on his journey toward a degree. After leaving high school during his junior year, he eventually found his way back to school and completed a GED. Attracted by the Digital and Studio Arts curriculum, he found a welcome home at Calumet College of St. Joseph. “My four years at CCSJ have been the most rewarding experience of my life, and I have cherished every moment,” he said.

One-hundred sixteen undergraduates matriculated this year, with additional Master’s Degree candidates graduating in Public Service, Teaching, Business Management and Behavioral & Social Science fields. Ambassador Donnelly was presented with an honorary doctorate degree.

Calumet College of St. Joseph is a graduate and undergraduate degree granting institution sponsored by the Missionaries of the Precious Blood and accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

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