Wheeling Jesuit Hosts 54th Annual Commencement

Special to HuntingtonNews.Net
Wheeling Jesuit Hosts 54th Annual Commencement

Wheeling, WV  -- Long-time Wheeling Jesuit University Faculty Member Rev. James O’Brien, S.J., focused on the Jesuit mission of “life, leadership and service with and for others” and how members of the school’s 54th graduating class can continue educating themselves in such a manner as they move into their next phase of life.


O’Brien, who is celebrating 50 years with the institution, delivered his address to 322 graduates from 16 states and 10 foreign countries during Wheeling Jesuit’s commencement exercises on May 19, in the Alma Grace McDonough Center. Prior to delivering his speech, O’Brien was presented with an honorary degree by Wheeling Jesuit President Richard A. Beyer.


“I have a rather long exposure to Jesuit education in West Virginia and have picked up some convictions along the way about how it works and how it can continue to be of influence in your future lives,” O’ Brien said.


Referring to a book entitled “Heroic Leadership,” authored by a former Jesuit turned finance executive, O’Brien said he chooses it as a guiding source “because it treats its topic in quite concrete and practical terms, measuring success by factual, historical results.” The book speaks about four “pillars” as the fundamental internal supports for St. Ignatius, the Jesuit founder, and his vision of life. The four pillars include self-awareness, ingenuity, love and heroism. O’Brien then briefly detailed the importance of each of the pillars in the graduates’ lives and careers.


“What I am proposing is that this same value system, enunciated in terms of character and career development, in terms of human growth and flourishing, has been offered to you, embedded in your liberal arts, Christian, Catholic, Jesuit education,” O’Brien said.


O’Brien also addressed the graduates telling them that roots of their Jesuit education dates back more than 450 years.


“I hope that Wheeling Jesuit University has provided you with the tools for life, leadership and service for others,” he said, reminding the Class of 2012 that all tools need to be polished, cared for and sharpened throughout life.


Valedictorian Megan Newrones of Medina, Ohio, spoke to her classmates about a prayer by Fr. Pedro Arrupe entitled “Fall in Love.” The prayer states that “what you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything.”


“Everyone has fallen in love with something at Wheeling Jesuit University. What was it?” Newrones asked as she reflected on the last four years at WJU and how the Jesuit education has nurtured the graduates to use their talents and knowledge to serve others.


Newrones spoke of future success and advised her class to follow Arrupe’s advice. “Fall in love, stay in love and love will decided everything.”


Student medals and awards and their recipients that were given during the ceremony include:


The Henry F. Paul Medals for Highest 4-year Averages


Halie Cottrill, St. Marys, W.Va.


Medals for Second Highest Award

Maria Petrasko, Stow, Ohio

Chelsey Keylor, Barnesville, Ohio


The Anthony T. Basil Medals for Adult Education

Tia Masciarelli, Bellaire, Ohio, for Highest Average

Natasha Ferrar, Bridgeport, Ohio, for Second Highest Average


The Frank R. Haig, S.J. Science Award

Andrea Fitzgibbon, Marion, Ohio


The Russell E. Younkins Medal

Robin Sparachane, Wheeling, W.Va.


The Katherine Fouts Medal

Nicholas Garbark, Wheeling, W.Va.


The Mary Woomer Medal

Anne DeFruscio, Wheeling, W.Va.


The Archbishop John J. Swint Medal

Sean Weaver, Crestline, Ohio

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