UIW School of Physical Therapy Graduation Dinner and Awards 2022 President's Welcome

May 9, 2022

Dr. Thomas M. Evans, UIW president, welcomes all to the UIW School of Physical Therapy dinner and ceremony honoring the Class of 2022.

Good evening, everyone. Thank you, Josh for leading us in prayer.

Welcome graduates, families, faculty and staff of the School of Physical Therapy; I am so pleased to have the opportunity to speak to you this evening.

Tonight, we begin a multi-day celebration full of tradition and grandeur. (What would commencement be without all the pomp and circumstance?) But, as we all know, it is so much more than that. I like to think that the heart of OUR university’s commencement festivities is gratitude.

Commencement inspires us to reflect on your journey as a student – all the way from your first day to your last. You were called to a profession of healing and restoration, certainly a challenging profession and equally as rewarding. You were called to a faith-based program – the School of Physical Therapy – that would ready you in all ways to become skilled, reflective and holistic-patient-centered professionals who uphold human dignity. Once here, you endeavored for excellence – and between the classes, exams, professional practice, service projects – there was always much to do. As you grew in skill and wisdom, you grew in compassion and awareness of the challenges that people face in the world.

Looking back, you could say: The days were long; the years were short; and the blessings many.

Your journeys have not always been easy, but I hope they HAVE brought you countless blessings. I hope you have many reasons to feel appreciative and grateful – of your peers, friends and faculty, some of whom we will honor here tonight. 

Tomorrow our community will attend – either in-person or virtually – Baccalaureate Mass. Every commencement since our establishment in 1881, we have gathered to pray in thanksgiving for the sacrifices and accomplishments of all of our graduates.

And, we have so much to be thankful for. I know that our UIW administrators, faculty and staff would all agree that we are grateful for you -- that you chose us, that you chose this much-needed profession, and that you worked diligently with open minds, hearts and hands over these many semesters. We are always sad to see you go, but we are grateful for the time we spent together and for the boundless potential you have to live the Mission in its fullest sense and to benefit the lives of others.

Finally, on Saturday, we will show our appreciation as we fill the Freeman Coliseum with your families, friends and fellow graduates to celebrate you and all that you have achieved. You will hear your name called, cross the stage and this short journey with us will come to an end. I ask that while you are here, and before you transition from student to alumni, that you take the precious opportunity to share your appreciation with those in your community who made the journey all the more rewarding.

Graduates, if you take anything away with you from my brief remarks, let it be that you will never regret offering a timely and well-deserved THANKS, but you will regret missing the opportunity to do so.

So, before I leave the stage, I say “Thank You.” Thank you for taking this student journey with us and for all that you brought to UIW. You are part of our Cardinal family now and forever, and we are all better for it.

Praised be the Incarnate Word!