Note: At Commencement 2014 President Michael F. McLean continued a longstanding Thomas Aquinas College tradition by concluding the ceremony with the following “Charge to the Graduates.” Founding President Ronald P. McArthur wrote the Charge for use at the College’s first Commencement in 1975, and he and his successors have repeated it, the original text unaltered, at every Commencement since. Upon hearing these words, the graduates sing the hymn Non nobis, Domine, non nobis, sed nomini Tuo da gloriam — “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to Your name give glory.”

Charge to the Graduates

You are charged, beginning this day,

with maintaining, defending, and protecting
your Catholic heritage —
its faith, its hope, its charity,
and all its learning and culture.

You must strive in your lives to live for God alone,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit;
and to insist, in season and out of season,
on the primacy of Peter and the Church he governs.

You must understand
that no matter what the conditions of the world,
what the vicissitudes of the suffering Church,
what the past has bequeathed you,
what the future holds for you,
that, in Newman’s courageous and hopeful words,
“All who take part with the Apostle
are on the winning side.”

Each of you must so live your life
that when you are to meet your Maker you can say,
as did the Angelic Doctor
as he received the Eucharist for the last time,

“I receive thee,
price of my redemption,
viaticum of my pilgrimage,
for love of whom I have fasted, prayed, taught, and labored.
Never have I said a word against Thee.
If I have, it was in ignorance,
and I do not persist in my ignorance.
I leave the correction of my work to the Holy Catholic Church,
and in that obedience I pass from this life.”

May God bless you on your way.