DePaul School of Music | Spring 2020 Online Commencement

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Congratulationsto the graduating class of DePaul University. You’ve done it! It’s graduation day! You are the first classof the decade. After countless hoursof studying, prepping for class… I congratulate youon your great success. We are so happyto have been part of your professionaland educational lives. Life kinda threw youa curveball there at the end– not kind of, it totally did. You worked very hardto come to this point. Your creativity,dedication, and resilience are an inspirationto all of us. Many of you have beenworking at your college degree for many, many years and you should be very proudof your accomplishments. You’ve prevailed. You’ve had lots of challenges, but you’ve made your dreamcome true.

I wish we could allbe together, cheering and clappingand celebrating with you. But please know,we are with you. We adore and respectall that you’ve taken on. I know I speakon behalf of the faculty when I tell you how much betteryou’ve made our lives over the last few years, and especially overthe last couple months. You all came fromliterally all over, you are extraordinary artists. I’m floored every day by thetalent that I see in all of you. I am sad to see you go,but so excited to think about the change that you’regoing to create in this world. I know that you will go onand do amazing things. We’re not just training youfor jobs– and we certainly hopewe’re doing that– but we are, moreover, trainingyou for your life’s work. I wish you nothing but the best as you start thisnext chapter in your life. And I believe you willall make the world a much better place. Congratulations, Class of 2020. From all of us here,from the bottom of our hearts, congratulationson all that you’ve accomplished.

We tip our hatto all of your efforts. and wish you the bestin all of your endeavors. The world is yoursfor the taking, so dream bigand go chase your dreams. Congratulations,Class of 2020. You made it. ♪ ♪ Members of the faculty, staff, administration, honored guests,and of course, our graduates, I’m Salma Ghanem,Interim Provost for DePaul University. Welcome to our121st commencement, DePaul’s very firstonline ceremony. We very much wish we couldall be together right now, and we plan to do soto celebrate together as soon as it’s safe. Until then, we celebrate todayin this online space because the DePaul communitywould never pass up an opportunity to applaud you,the Class of 2020, and your many accomplishments. Commencement is one ofthe most meaningful ceremonies of a student’s academic career, and a DePaul commencementis anything but ordinary. As a Catholic Vincentianuniversity, we share a commitmentto uphold the dignity of every single person, and we call thatVincentian personalism. Just like we do every year,each student will be recognized. We want to give every studenttheir moment because that’s the DePaul way. It’s also why we encourageall the students, family members,and friends watching to stay until the end, especially because our ceremonywill conclude with a special alumni guest, Joe Keery from the hit Netflixseries, “Stranger Things.” Now, we know thatthe Class of 2020 faced many challengesthis past quarter. In a matter of days, you had to pivotto all remote learning. Many of you had to dashback home. Through it all, though, you demonstrated patienceand understanding as your facultytransitioned to teach more than 4,000 classesremotely. Your world was turnedupside-down, but you persevered. That’s not surprising to us because throughout your timeat DePaul, you navigated obstaclesand rose to the challenge. How? Well, throughout your timeat DePaul, your class dedicatedat least 300,000 hours to academic internships; 2,559 of you are membersof the Honor Society; 200 undergraduate studentsin the Class of 2020 completed double majors; more than a thousand of you, or roughly about 17 percentof your graduating class, participated instudy abroad programs; you danced more than 70 hoursfor DemonTHON, raising approximately $811,000 for Lurie Children’s Hospitalof Chicago; your Theatre School presentedmore than 300 productions, and the School of Music offerednearly 1,000 performances. Yeah, and yes,you also helped consume two million meals served on our Lincoln Parkand Loop Campuses, all during your time at DePaul. If you’re watchingtoday’s ceremony, though, with a loved one, a friend,or a family member, turn to them nowand say, “Thank you,” and if you’re physically apartfrom many of the ones you love, take a momentand send them a message to express your gratitude. Don’t ever forgetall the people who helped you getto this moment in your academic career, including, of course,the faculty and staff who shared their talentand wisdom with you. Now, it is your responsibility to carry their teachingsforward. On behalf of the entireDePaul community, congratulations! We can’t wait to seewhat you do next. Now it’s my privilegeto introduce Reverend Guillermo Campuzano,Congregation of the Mission and Vice Presidentof Mission and Ministry, who will delivertoday’s invocation, followed by the National Anthemsung by John Concepcion. For those who wish to do so,please join me in prayer. Loving God,today is graduation day, a passage, a completion,a new beginning. Today, we pray in thanksgiving for DePaul University’sClass of 2020. Our students,with the help of faculty, staff, family, and friends,have met the challenges and kept the faith to the commitmentsof their studies, and they’re becomingthe kind of people they want to and can bein our society. God, the graduationof this year happens in the contextof the most challenging events of our generation. It is in the challenging momentsthat You refine us. The joy that our studentsare experiencing today cannot be stolen. We will do well to remember that nothing can stealour joy and our peace when they are a giftthat comes from our inner self. Please, do not allowour many trials of today, as difficult as they may seem, to distract usfrom rejoicing and celebrating this meaningful momentin the lives of so many in our DePaul family. In this context,it can be tempting for us to forget to be joyful, yet it is in the challengingmoments of life that you prove yourself close,friendly, faithful. You are always with us. Our joy today is not derivedfrom our comfort, but it is a joythat is happening despite our uncomfort in this,our distance, our inability to gather,to hug, and to say goodbye. Our joy comes from our belief that no matterwhat is happening, none of us is alone. We will continue to reach outand to support each other.

Please, dear God,continue to educate us all, especiallyour graduating students, and shape us more completely into the human beingswe need to be to go throughthe fire together and to prevailas one human family. Good and loving God,please bless and guide our graduatesas they reach this end and as they chartnew beginnings. May what they have learnedby being here, with usin our Vincentian classrooms, allow them to truly bewomen and men for others. May what we have learnedfrom them enable us to be the same. Please help our graduatesuse all that they have learned to serve othersin true solidarity and kindness, to seek ways to help the poor,the marginalized, and those who are suffering, and to always seekthe greater good and make our worlda better place. Finally, God, we thank You for giving us the opportunityto build our DePaul community with these, our students,while they were here. Though they are leaving, now,our campuses, we know that they willalways be with us as part of the DePaul family, and we ask that the bondsthat have been created here remain strongdespite any distance. Bless and protect themand all those they love. Amen. ♪ Oh, say can you seeby the dawn’s early light ♪ ♪ What so proudly we hailed atthe twilight’s last gleaming? ♪ ♪ Whose broad stripesand bright stars through the perilous fight ♪ ♪ O’er the ramparts we watchedwere so gallantly streaming? ♪ ♪ And the rocket’s red glare,the bombs bursting in air ♪ ♪ Gave proof through the nightthat our flag was still there ♪ ♪ Oh, say does thatstar-spangled banner yet wave ♪ ♪ O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave? ♪ I am honored to welcomeour students, families, faculty, and staff to this rather remarkablecommencement ceremony for the DePaul UniversitySchool of Music. Graduates,from your first auditions to become part of the school, through the countless hoursof study, practice, lessons, rehearsals,and performances, you have had this day in mindas your goal. And while the daymay not look as we thought it might have, it does not diminishthe great heights you have achieved. So much has been accomplishedin the years you have been with usat the School of Music. You trained with our faculty, who are the bestin the world, alongside your colleagues, who are the most talentedin music. Perhaps one ofthe greatest milestones we celebrated togetherwas the unveiling of the HoltschneiderPerformance Center.

This facility quickly becameour new home for classes, rehearsals, practices, and performances and every facetof our lives together. And just at the endof the Winter Quarter, we celebrated the opening of the Sasha and Eugene JarvisOpera Hall. You were among the firstto grace the halls of these new facilities and I saw how muchyou enjoyed working in them. And I can imaginehow much you will miss them. In recent months, you made the mostof a very challenging time. And your ability to do so has spoken volumesof your character. Please know that I have neverbeen more proud of each of youthan I am right now. You are about to embarkon a path forward that may not lookas clear today as it once did. But you are prepared. We have given you the tools to be an engaged and thoughtfulcitizen of the world. One who understandsand informs the world through your art. You are empoweredto transform yourself, those around you, and, indeed, the entire world with your talents. Don’t ever lose sightof what brought you here. Your desire to express, to connect, to create. If you manage that, you will always revel in the ideasof pursuing something that is greater than yourself. It has been our honor to sharethis day and every day with you at the School of Music. The world needs you nowmore than ever. Know that you canand will make a difference. We all believe in your abilityto do so. It is now my pleasureto introduce our student speaker for today’s ceremony, Rebecca Hiigel. Rebecca is graduatingwith a double major in French horn performance and music education. Throughout her time at DePaul, she has been a peer mentor, a Chicago Quarter Mentor, secretary and vice president of DePaul’s NAfME chapter, and a music admission officerrepresentative. As she graduates, Rebecca hopes to bea director of a collegiate-levelband or orchestra. Thank you, Rebecca. Sitting here today,alone in my room, seems wrong. I should be surroundedby friends and family, eating way too muchsheet cake with frostingthat’s way too sweet, and saying goodbyeto the wonderful people with whom I’ve spentmy college career. We have workedincredibly hard for the last four years and this ceremonymarks the culmination of our collegiate achievements. The Class of 2020has major historical bookends.

Many of us startedin the fall of 2016 and two months later,the Cubs won the World Series. and I’d say that’sa pretty good way to start off your timeliving in Chicago. Over the next few years, we took classes,sat through rehearsals, completed internships, and put together recitals, and now here we are, walking acrossthe figurative stage at our graduation in an unprecedentedtime of turmoil. Everyone always told me thatcollege would be a whirlwind and that it would be overbefore I knew it. And they were right. Our college career ended soonerthan we all expected. Even thoughwe’ve all complained about different aspectsof school, I think all of usare wishing that we were togetheron campus, waking up early, sitting throughthree-hour rehearsals, and celebratingour long-awaited graduation. While this is not the wayany of us pictured our DePaul career ending, I want to encourage everyone by reminding you allthat we are prepared to go into the world and we are preparedto make a difference. The world that we areabout to enter is different than the worldwe planned to enter. Your job applications, internships,and further educational plans may not be playing outthe way that you expected. But the COVID-19 crisishas shown us something that, as a music educator,I find very important. In this crisis,people are turning to music. Right now, a songcan change the world. Singing can change the world. Music can change the world. And in these timesof complete isolation and separation, we are the ones who aretrained in the arts and that is what can bringthe world together right now. In his poem, “Earth Song,”Frank Ticheli wrote, “This dark, stormy hour. The wind, it stirs. The scorched earthcries out in vain. O war and power,you blind and blur. The torn heartcries out in pain. But music and singinghave been my refuge, and music and singingshall be my light. A light of song shining strong: Alleluia! Through darkness,and pain, and strife, I’ll Sing, Be, Live, See… Peace.” We are graduatinginto a world where everything is different. But we’re prepared. I don’t mean that we’reprepared for a job, a career, or our next degree, though I hope everyoneis prepared for those things. But I mean we are preparedto enter this world as representativesof the kind of good that we need right now.

As we leave DePaul, there’s one questionin our minds: What must be done? So here’s my answer. We must constantly try to makethis world a better place and we picked a career withthe ability to do just that. Class of 2020, there’s no doubt in my mind that we can change the worldfor the better. In this time of darknessand pain and strife, we will sing. We will be,we will live, and we will see, and finally, we will helpcreate peace. Congratulations,Class of 2020. Please welcomeSpencer Schillerstrom, Master’s of Music candidate and a memberof the Class of 2020 on tenor saxophone, and Simon Ciaccio, Bachelor’s of Musicfrom the Class of 2019 on acoustic bass. They will be performing”I’ll Be Seeing You” by Sammy Fain. ♪ (saxophone joins) ♪ The dean will now presentthe candidates for the conferral of degrees. ♪ President Esteban, on behalf of the facultyof staff of the School of Music, I respectfully presentthe candidates and recommend thatthe announced degrees be conferred upon them. By the authorityvested in me by the Board of Trustees and the State of Illinois, I confer upon you the degree for whichyou have been recommended, with all the rights,privileges, and responsibilitiesappertaining there unto. ♪ The following candidateshave successfully completed the requirementsand have been awarded their respective degrees. ♪ Members ofthe Vincentian community and the clergy, Trustees,Life Trustees, faculty,administration, staff,and honored guests, I’m Gabriel Esteban, president of DePaul University. Thank you for joining ustoday to celebrate the DePaul UniversityClass of 2020. Your presence,even in this online space, means everything to us. This was not the yearor the commencement ceremony anyone expected, and I am inspiredby the tenacity and drive the Class of 2020has demonstrated throughout this time. I am also extremely gratefulto all the faculty and staff who made the swift transitionto remote learning, as well asthe many people who made today’s onlinecommencement ceremony possible. I especially would likethe recognize the membersof the DePaul community who continuedto report to campus throughoutthe Spring Quarter. DePaul UniversityClass of 2020, the worldis a scary place right now. Graduating from collegealways comes with a degreeof uncertainty. Is this the right job for me? Am I choosing the right path? Will I achieve my dreams? I know all your questionsare magnified right now, and it’s okayto feel scared. Now, more than ever, the world needsDePaul graduates. There are morethan 6,000 students in the Class of 2020, and the world needsevery single one of you. We need entrepreneurs,economists, and hospitality leaders. Journalists, filmmakers, computer scientists,and game designers. Teachers, counselors,writers, artists, diplomats, and historians. Nurses, psychologists, scientists,and mathematicians. Musicians and actors. The world needs DePaul graduates because you knowwhat it takes to succeed.

You know howto roll up your sleeves and do whatever it takesto get the job done. You understand the importanceof giving back. And you have the courageto ask, “What must be done?” At DePaul,our Catholic Vincentian mission to serve the public good is at the heartof everything we do. We have taught youto fight for social justice, help those most in need, listen, and be kind. Please keepour Vincentian values close to your heart. Be mindfulof the responsibility that comeswith a DePaul diploma. The diploma that bears the name of St. Vincent de Paul. DePaul UniversityClass of 2020, you are ready to servea changing world, transformed byyour DePaul education, grounded in mission. Make us proud. The last stepin your journey at DePaul is to be inductedinto the alumni community. It is my distinct honorto introduce our special alumni guest,Joe Keery, who graduated fromThe Theatre School in 2014, and now playsSteve Harrington on the hit Netflix series”Stranger Things.” DePaul has always been proudto call Joe one of our own, and my wife and Iare big fans of his work. We’re very gratefulhe could join us today to celebratethe Class of 2020. Please welcome Joe Keery. Hi, everybody,my name is Joe Keery. I’m an alumniof DePaul University, Class of 2014,from The Theatre School, and I’m honored to bethis year’s Alumni Inductor and to welcomethe Class of 2020 into the Alumni Association. So, congratulations,Class of 2020. When I thinkabout my time at DePaul, I think aboutall the hard work. I mean, DePaul really conditionstheir students to work. If you ask any of the studentsat The Theatre School, they’re definitelyworking very hard. It really conditioned meto fill my days doing the thingthat I love to do, and then work towards goalsthat I really set for myself. So, now, more than ever,as graduates, and kind of giventhe current state of the world, I think it’s really importantto keep your foot on the gas and to really go afterevery single opportunity, to makeyour own opportunities. If you work hard at somethingthat you love to do, and you can makea living doing it, then you won’t have to worka day in your life. That’s always beenmy mentality, and I feel so luckyto be able to do the workthat I’m able to do. And it wouldn’t havebeen possible, truly, without DePaul. I look backon my time there so fondly. All the friendsthat I’ve made, all the experiencesthat I had. But, truly,now the real fun begins, because you get to takeeverything that you’ve learned and everything thatyou’ve worked towards at DePauland put it to use. And now you can startthis new chapter in your life and always look back fondlyat your time at DePaul. So, congratulations again, and now to inductthe Class of 2020.

Inscribed upon this scrollare the names of the members of DePaul University’s121st graduating class, the Class of 2020. We acceptthese graduates into the DePaul UniversityAlumni Association. Members ofthe 121st graduating class, we welcome youto the next step in your lifelong connectionwith DePaul. As students of yesterday,graduates today, and alumni forever, you are now part of aneven larger DePaul community of over 190,000 alumniliving around the world. The continued vitalityof DePaul University depends uponeach of us as alumni, and our pledge of commitmentand service to the university. We invite youto accept membership by moving your tasselfrom the right to the left as a symbolic gestureof your transformation from a studentof DePaul University to a lifelong learnerand citizen of the world. Graduates,please move your tassels, you should really do it, and congratulationsto the Class of 2020. (applauds) ♪

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