Ave Maria University
2023 AMU Commencement Ceremony
On May 6, 2023, in the presence of family, friends, faculty, staff, donors, and the Board of Trustees, Ave Maria University held the annual Commencement Ceremony on the Gyrene Field. The morning included addresses from President Mark Middendorf, Valedictorian Sophia Bellia, and keynote speaker, Patrick Lencioni.
In the keynote address, Patrick Lencioni encouraged the graduates to always prioritize their relationship with Christ first, and not let the pressures of the world keep them from doing so. “Whether a bird is tied down by a chain or a string, it does not matter because either way it cannot fly… I know this because I did it myself. I was unhappy because my treasure was here on Earth, not with God.” With his words of guidance, he sent the class of 2023 with marching orders to take their faith into the world, letting the Lord take them where He needs them to be, saying, “Please have the courage to go into that world and stand firm in the Truth of Christ. Wake up and announce to the Lord that you want only what He wants. Ask Him to protect you. Nothing is worth more than eternal joy… choose Him every day.”
In the closing remarks of the ceremony, Sophia Bellia—one of three class of 2023 Valedictorians—addressed her classmates and reflected on their time at AMU. In her speech, Sophia leaned on the importance of service, especially as witnesses of Christ. “A vibrant part of campus is how students and faculty desire to live out their Catholic Faith… We are invited each and every day to utilize our talents to have a positive effect on those around us. For service around us doesn’t have to include moving mountains but can include small acts of kindness.” She closed with a call to prioritize Christ in all things, saying, “True fulfillment comes from serving others and keeping Christ at the center of all we do. May you continue to make your mark on the world around you, serving others just as Christ serves the Church.”
Ave Maria University is thankful to all who celebrated the class of 2023 this weekend and is extremely proud of the graduates and all their achievements. AMU would also like to thank the faculty, staff, benefactors, and the Ave Maria community who supported these graduates with their prayers and service, and all who helped make this weekend a success.