Commencement 2019

Message from the President

Dear Graduates,

As the time for your graduation begins to approach, a cluster of feelings, I imagine, begins to emerge, with force, from the deep of your hearts. You cannot believe that the beautiful time you spent at LAU is quickly coming to end. You feel proud of all your accomplishments, including your stunning academic successes, your many and meaningful experiences, your significant growth and maturity, and your impressive network of friends. You begin to think nostalgically that the time you spent at LAU is soon to be over and behind you. Although graduation time is extremely exciting, a bittersweet feeling begins to tug away at you. Your LAU years have been the best years of your lives. You are so happy they happened and so sad they will soon end.

As you are about to go into a brave new world, fully equipped with knowledge and experience, I would urge you not to ignore your feelings when you make important decisions that will affect your lives. Along with your rational, critical, and methodical approach to difficult moments, your gut feelings should be your GPS, your emotional guidance system. Oprah Winfrey, a TV icon for millions of people the world over said in a moment of reflection, “Every right decision I’ve made has come from my gut. And every wrong decision I’ve ever made was a result of me not listening to the greater voice of myself.”

In your drive for success, I am certain you will make lots of money, but what is important is to make sure that the money you make is accompanied by meaning because meaning, and not money alone, is what brings to your lives real joy, richness, and happiness.

I am sure that in pursuing your varied careers you will make mistakes. You will experience failures. You will stumble. You will have setbacks. Instead of becoming exasperated with yourselves, try to learn what a failure or mistake is to teach you. Do not become paralyzed by the many challenges you will confront in life. Merge with them, pick up the pieces, learn your lesson and move forward.

Finally, stand for something larger than yourselves, larger than your individual successes. Engage in the service of others, to be happy, you have to give something back. There is always an internal joy that you get from serving others. So, whatever field you choose, whatever roadmap you decide to follow, if you are guided by the paradigm of service, your lives will have more meaning and you will experience true happiness.

Oprah Winfrey did not use television as a job, she used it to serve her viewers. This is what gave meaning to her success, her life trajectory.  In fact, this mission applies not only to Oprah’s exemplary career, but also to any profession you choose to practice. This life perspective will, I am sure, help you turn everything you do, from a job to a gift.

You have enriched yourselves during your studies at LAU. Make your mark on the world by serving others. To that effect, Martin Luther King, Jr., said “not everybody can be famous, but everybody can be great, because greatness is determined by service.” Very soon, you will be LAU graduates and alumni. You have the heart and the smarts to be successful, to serve, and to fulfill yourselves. I urge you to remember always that everything you do is better when you share it.

On behalf of the LAU family, I extend to you all and to your parents, families, and loved ones our most sincere congratulations; and we all look forward to celebrating with you your graduation day, and to sharing with pride in the joy of your success.

Joseph G. Jabbra
President, LAU