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Convocation Kicks Off Commencement 2010

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May 20, 2010 – Commencement 2010 kicked off on May 20 with a reminder to new graduates that, whatever their path, they will continue to be “sons and daughters” of Georgetown.

“This convocation is a moment between beginnings for you to look back on the gift of the years you have had with us,” Provost James O’Donnell told the 1,081 undergraduates at Senior Convocation, “and to look ahead to consider the enduring gift that Georgetown will be in your lives.”

Convocation marks the one time during Commencement Weekend that the entire undergraduate Class of 2010 gathers together. Each of the university’s seven schools then holds its own awards and graduation ceremonies.

Different Paths, Common Lessons

Graduates heard from two of their peers -- Pamela Nwaoko (C’10) and Lukasz Swiderski (SFS’10) -- during the ceremony. Both talked about the lessons they’re taking away from the university.

They come from very different backgrounds – she’s from New Jersey and he’s from Poland -- and they took different paths at Georgetown. But each said they are leaving the university with a passion to use their education to help others.

Nwaoko spoke of the importance of mentoring youth. During her Georgetown years, the government major participated in Young Leaders in Education About Diversity, the Girl Talk mentoring program and the After School Kids program.

She said mentors have the power to change young lives.

“You can end their invisibility, and you can showcase to them all what they are capable of,” she said. “It just might be your voice that reminds them that they, too, can have a chance -- a real chance.”

Swiderski, who emigrated from Poland to Connecticut as a child before returning to his native country, told his class that he always envisioned himself as a citizen of the world.

“We know what community means,” said Swiderski, who will do humanitarian and refugee work in sub-Saharan Africa after graduation. “Let’s … use what we’ve known, use who we’ve been, to make the world more real.”

Ending With Tradition

Senior Convocation serves as a traditional bookend to the class of 2010’s time at Georgetown. The students were officially welcomed to the university during New Student Convocation on Aug. 27, 2006.

The class participated in other time-honored traditions at the convocation -- they received their alumni pins and sang “Georgetown Fight Song” for the first time as graduates.

The Class of 2010 left future Georgetown students a gift of $31,957 -- with funds supporting programs of the donor’s choice. More than 70 percent of the class earmarked their gift to support financial aid.

“You’ve laid the foundation for a great legacy to come,” Georgetown President John J. DeGioia told the class. “We truly thank you for all that you’ve given to us.”

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