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Video: Georgetown College Commencement 2013

Saturday, May 18, 2013 9:00 a.m. ET

May 18, 2013 – Lisa J. Shannon, founder of Run for Congo and A Thousand Sisters campaign, told the graduating class of Georgetown College today that having empathy for those in need will allow them to live a fulfilling and fearless life capable of changing the world.

“Flip [the empathy switch] on, keep it on,” said Shannon, who received the degree doctor of humane letters, honoris causa during the Georgetown College commencement. “It will fuel you over the threshold of doubt and fear and discomfort to find power.”

More than 900 students were conferred degrees during Saturday morning’s ceremony in front of proud family members and university faculty.

“I am struck with gratitude for the people I have met—friends, mentors, peers, and professors—and the support and guidance they have provided,” said Kylie Sago (C'13). “I am particularly grateful for the personal and intellectual growth they have inspired, which has given me direction for the next steps after graduation." 

Shannon's grassroots efforts have led her to raise money, support and raise awareness for female victims in the Democratic Republic of Congo since 2005. She emphasized that no one needs approval to change the world for the betterment of the planet and humankind.

“That’s all any of us need to do: Step up without permission or endorsements or anyone to say ‘go,’” she said. “Stumble, fail, fake it, take it as far as you can and trust that the reverberations are far bigger than anything your going to be able to measure in your lifetime.” 

Shannon’s sentiments reverberated with graduates, especially those who in the spirit of the university dedicated themselves to the betterment of others.

“I think the commitment to social justice is at the heart of Jesuit ideology and I’m really, really happy to have been a part of it,” said Albert Eisenberg (C’13). “I think Georgetown’s really interested in touching the lives of people on the earth and improving the world, however its graduates do this.”

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