As the younger sister of a senior in the Class of 2012, I had the privilege of attending this year’s graduation. I sat sandwiched between my dad, impatient to see his daughter step onto the field in Alumni Stadium, and my mom, anxiously fiddling with her camera in order to capture every moment. The best part was, of course, seeing my sister walk across the stage to receive her diploma, symbolizing four years of hard work in all facets of BC life. The second best part of the ceremony was hearing commencement speaker Bob Woodruff address the Class of 2012.
Bob Woodruff is a television journalist for ABC News who suffered a severe brain injury while reporting in Iraq in 2006. He was riding in a tank outside of Baghdad when a bomb went off, shattering his skull and putting him in a coma for 36 days. His chances for survival were slim and he wasn’t expected to be able to speak again. Miraculously, he recovered and was able to share this life-changing experience as well as some important lessons with the seniors as they prepared to embark on the next step of their journeys.
Woodruff presented four truths that he has come to recognize since his accident. First, “figure out what makes you happy.” While he was able to pursue his love for telling stories through journalism, Woodruff encouraged students to find their true passions as well. Second, “exercise your faith.” In an atmosphere such as BC, we are fortunate to have so many opportunities to explore our beliefs. Woodruff adds that regardless of religious stances, “just holding…hope for someone else is one of the greatest gifts you can give another human being.” Third, “serve and give back.” Over the course of our four years at BC, we are taught to become “men and women for Others.” When we give part of ourselves to people in need, we can understand how rewarding this is and how the power to make a difference lies in our hands. Lastly, “get vocal with family and friends.” In Woodruff’s words, “Life is short. Life can change in an instant—I’m living proof of that—so don’t be stingy with love or friendship.”
I left the ceremony feeling excited and inspired. Each of the lessons that Woodruff shared coincide with what we are taught daily as BC students. In typical BC fashion, the ceremony concluded with a phrase that is often repeated throughout our four years at BC and is particularly relevant now for the Class of 2012: Go set the world aflame.