Bishop Trautman: Character Matters More Than Ever

President Taylor and Bishop TrautmanPosted: May 7, 2012

Saturday, May 5, 2012 -- Most Rev. Donald W. Trautman, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Erie, reminded Gannon University’s 769 May graduates that the world they are entering remains in need of leaders who are guided by a moral compass.

Bishop Trautman, STD, SSL, gave the keynote address during the University’s May Commencement ceremony, held at Tullio Arena. “Our contemporary world needs leadership that springs from moral values and a compassionate heart,” Bishop Trautman advised. “Share your gifts and talents with others that others may benefit from what God has given you.”

“Your degree carries a responsibility,” he added. “What is that responsibility? Be true to your formation, be true to your faith tradition. Be authentic; keep head and heart together. If the head and heart do not remain connected, their separation will result either in well-trained, degreed people who know little of compassion and commitment, or semi-religious people who cannot think critically.”

Bishop Trautman congratulated the graduates, while also encouraging them to balance professional success with what truly matters in life. “The goal of a Gannon education, a Catholic education, is not simply to make money and become rich. That is not aiming high enough,” he said.

Referencing the Gospel of Matthew, Bishop Trautman added, “The perfect formula for happiness on earth combines intellectual development and moral motivation expressed by Christ in his Sermon on the Mount: ‘Your light must shine before others that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.’”

During the ceremony, Gannon University also presented Bishop Trautman with the Ut Diligatis Invicem Award. The award is given to an individual who has demonstrated a strong commitment to his or her faith and is a living example of the Judeo-Christian ideal of love at work. Its name is based on the Episcopal motto of Gannon’s founder, Archbishop John Mark Gannon: “That you love one another.”

Gannon University President Keith Taylor, Ph.D., thanked Bishop Trautman for his many years of service as shepherd of the Erie Diocese and as chairperson of the Gannon University Board of Trustees. Dr. Taylor also congratulated the 769 May graduates, including 44 doctoral degree recipients, 285 master’s degree recipients, one recipient of a post master’s certificate, 414 bachelor’s degree recipients and 25 associate’s degree recipients. Some 49 students graduated Summa cum Laude, 74 Magna cum Laude, 58 Cum Laude and 24 with academic honors.

Including students earning degrees at the December, 2011 ceremony, Gannon University has a graduating class of 996 for the 2011-12 Academic Year.

Dr. Taylor acknowledged that the graduates will encounter new challenges compared with those they faced as students. He also reminded them that the best is yet to come. "Enjoy this new road, learn from it, embrace it," he said.

"Be confident and have faith in what you have learned, in how much you have grown, in what you are capable of accomplishing and in the sound foundation you have built through this education for your journey to success," Dr. Taylor added.     

Prior to the main graduation ceremony, Gannon’s Army ROTC held its commissioning in the University’s Schuster Theatre. And, the Baccalaureate Mass held in honor of the graduates was celebrated in St. Peter Cathedral.