Colleen Sharkey | May 20, 2019
The University of Notre Dame celebrated its 174th Commencement Ceremony Sunday (May 19) at the Joyce Center, rather than Notre Dame Stadium, due to inclement weather. An audience of more than 8,000 family members, friends, faculty and graduates attended.
President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., and Thomas Burish, Charles and Jill Fischer Provost, welcomed the guests and introduced the speakers.
Introducing commencement speaker Peggy Noonan, Father Jenkins said the Pulitzer Prize-winning author and columnist is “fully capable of rapier wit and wisdom in the dismantling of a worthy opponent ... but nonetheless never resorts to the vulgarity or character assassination that too often passes for legitimate criticism these days. She remains patriotic, without being chauvinistic. She believes in common decency, but is not naive. She is a critic who seeks common ground.”
Noonan began her speech by highlighting a special feature of this year’s commencement ceremony.
“I note a remarkable thing. To begin with, this institution is 177 years old ... but, in all those years, it has never happened that the salutatorian, valedictorian and commencement speaker were all women,” Noonan said. “It’s a delight to be with these strong, smart women who along with the strong, smart men make this University the great thing that it is.”
For much of her address, Noonan focused on the fractured state of the country.
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