Tim Russert, host of NBC’s Meet the Press, told Fordham University’s more than 4,000 graduates on May 22 to remember those less fortunate as they transition from lives as students to lives as professionals.
“St. Luke tells us, ‘To whom much is given, much indeed is expected,’” said Russert. “Remember the people struggling alongside you and…the people who haven’t had the same opportunity, the same blessings, the same Fordham education.
Tim Russert, host of Meet the Press, reminded graduates during his commencement address that the values-based education they received at Fordham sets them apart from graduates at other universities.
“Eight children a day are shot dead in the streets of America, 25 percent of eighth graders will never graduate high school, 35 million fellow Americans are…without a high-school education,” he said. “If we are serious about continuing as the world’s premiere military, economic and moral force, we have no choice. We will need all of our children contributing and prospering.”
Joseph M. McShane, S.J., the 32nd president of Fordham University, thanked graduates for “spicing the life of Fordham” and noted that their time at the University has been defined, in part, by the events of Sept. 11, 2001.
“In spite of or because of the context in which you have lived and studied, your search for truth has taught you a great deal,” said Father McShane, presiding over his first Commencement as University president. “[It has taught you] that ideas have consequences; that the human heart is fragile but that love is stronger than death; that, if you want peace, you must work for justice; that, paradoxically enough, the search for peace is fraught with danger.”
Father McShane presented Russert with an honorary doctorate of humane letters. Russert, who has been the host of Meet the Press for 12 years, is also a political analyst for NBC Nightly News and the Today show. He anchors The Tim Russert Show on CNBC, is a contributing anchor for MSNBC, and a senior vice president and Washington bureau chief of NBC News. Russert has received the Edward R. Murrow Award for Overall Excellence in Television Journalism, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society Journalism Award, the Joan S. Barone Award and the David Brinkley Award for Excellence in Communications. Russert’s new book, Big Russ and Me: Father and Son—Lessons of Life, chronicles his relationship with his father.
Also receiving honorary doctorates at the ceremony were:
R. Scott Appleby, Ph.D., professor of history and director of the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame. Appleby is a leading academic voice in religious history, whose career highlights include serving as co-director of the Fundamentalism Project, an international public-policy study funded by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; and penning a number of academic titles, including The Ambivalence of the Sacred: Religion, Violence and Reconciliation (Rowman & Littlefield, 2000), a study of religious peace building for the Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict.
Margaret A. Farley, Ph.D., co-chair of Yale University’s Interdisciplinary Bioethics Project. Farley is the recipient of eight honorary degrees, a Luce Fellowship in Theology and the John Courtney Murray Award for Excellence in Theology. She currently serves on the Bioethics Committee of the Yale-New Haven Hospital and the Ethics Committee of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine. The past president of the Catholic Theological Society of America and the Society of Christian Ethics, Farley has published more than 75 articles and chapters of books on social, historical and theological issues.
Lady Helen Hamlyn, chair of the Helen Hamlyn Trust. Hamlyn has supported many humanitarian, medical and environmental projects throughout the world, and has underwritten several large restoration projects on notable historical sites. In addition to the trust, Hamlyn has established the Helen Hamlyn Foundation, dedicated to improving the lives of the elderly, and the Helen Hamlyn Research Centre at the Royal College of Arts in London, which houses an awards program that guides designers and architects to develop socially conscious projects. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Art.
Vincent M. Novak, S.J., Ph.D., dean of Fordham University’s Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education (GSRRE). Father Novak will retire from his post this summer after leading the University’s religious education program for 40 years. He spearheaded the development of the Lord and King High School Religion series (Holt, Rinehart, Winston, 1964-1968), which was incorporated into Catholic high-school curricula nationwide to build students’ understanding of the Second Vatican Council and eventually led to the creation of the GSRRE. Today, the school offers six master’s degree programs and a doctoral degree in religious education. The school’s 2,500 graduates are leaders in their respective fields. Former students currently run the six Roman Catholic diocesan school systems in the New York City metropolitan area.
Honorable George Bundy Smith, LL.B., Ph.D., senior associate justice of the New York Court of Appeals, received an honorary doctorate of laws at the May 23 diploma ceremony for the Fordham University School of Law. Smith was admitted to the New York State Bar in 1963. He began his judicial career in 1975, serving on the Civil Court of New York City and the State Supreme Court. He was also an associate justice of the State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, from January 1987 to September 1992, when then-Governor Mario M. Cuomo appointed him to the Court of Appeals.
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