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Article Title: Graduation Speech
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Graduation speech
By: Jose Jaime Rivera
President of the Universidad del Sagrado Corazón

June 2009
From: El Nuevo Dia, domingo 28 de junio del 2009

Instruments for Understanding

The 2009 graduating class is composed of 804 graduates that have completed one more stage of their academic life. A prestigious faculty has accompanied them, a body of professors that committed themselves to develop in Sagrado a unique university project, cemented in the vanguard and excellence and tradition that seek quality instead of quantity. You come out into a work world in the middle of the worst global economic crisis since the Great Depression of 1929.The parameters of the present situation, emerging out of the globalization context, and in a knowledge economy, lead the British reporter, Sally Burch to ask if we live in a time of changes, or in a change of times.
It is also pertinent to ask ourselves if we are in one of many of those economic cycles or we face a world systems crisis that will give way to other structures and systems. We cannot forget that the crisis concept has defined itself as a moment in History where the old system dies and the new replacing one is not yet born. We are encouraged to know that you leave prepared to lead your lives through the straight road no matter the conditions that come up in your sailing.
That you may make it to any safe port in any sea we offered you a solid integral and multidisciplinary humanistic education. This formation gives you instruments to understand yourself, your world and the challenges you face. Those of you that were able to combine different disciplines like a Bachelor’s in multidiscipline studies, or combined a major concentration with a minor in another department, acquired a greater capacity to face opportunities and better use diverse work opportunities. If there is a good moment to continue studying it is now. No Sagrado graduate should opt to stay with just a Bachelor’s. In the economy of knowledge, the greatest active is that of the intellect and the capacities of being and coexisting and learning to learn and to undertake. Such is the importance of these four capacities that in 1998 UNESCO defined them as fundamental when adopting the so called “Delors Report” (Jaques Delors, 1996).
This is a great occasion to remember the words of Don Jaime Benitez, main puertorrican universitarian, whose centenary we are celebrating and who passed away in 2001. In one of his most famous speeches (1962) Don Jaime pointed out and we quote: “The free man is the one who respects and perfects the potentials of his luck so, that upon using them, does so in accordance with the highest human nature ideal, and does so voluntarily. Being a free man (or woman) does not mean to do what you want but to voluntarily want to do what you have to.”
He devoted his professional life to fulfill what he understood was his duty: educate several generations of youngsters that like you, wanted to be better.
I encourage you to live a dignified life, with integrity, vertical and full of solidarity toward your neighbor, full of love, tolerance and committed with a sustainable economic development, in harmony with the nature God gave us to take care of, using it with prudence and understanding of its significance for the next generations.
Last, I invite you to meditate upon the most important and most deteriorated of our social institutions: the family.
The Puerto Rican family is going through a very profound crisis. There is very little dialogue between parents and children; there is little interaction in the homes; they do not sit together and share bread and talk; many parents find it easier to work and acquire things for their children, but bring very little spiritual, emotional, affective and interpersonal support. This is one of the most profound roots of our social crisis and only each one of you can, with your future family life, upon building your homes, change the direction of this evil.
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