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June 2018


Dear Abbot Pennings,

What are your thoughts on SNC graduates decorating mortarboards in preparation for commencement ceremonies? There were quite a few clever ones this year!

Tom Rogers ’85


Oh, dear Tom, how I love the pomp and circumstance of our graduation ceremonies! I delight in the academic regalia showcased by all our graduates and our esteemed faculty. 

The tradition of academic dress is centuries old, but our students do enjoy adding their own marks to make their ensemble distinct. In a way, it’s a fitting depiction of our student body: Our students are of one community, forever bound together by this common alma mater. Yet it’s abundantly clear that each graduate has his or her own unique gifts that they are carrying with them into the world. 

As I surveyed the most recent graduating class, I was overwhelmed by the beautiful artwork on the tops of many mortarboards. You can see some for yourself on what I’m told is called the college’s “Instagram” (which may be a misnomer as it doesn’t bear much resemblance to a telegram). It’s certainly hard to choose favorites, but I took special note of some: “ ‘Here I am Lord. Send me.’ Isaiah 6:8,” “Thanks Mom & Dad for giving me the WORLD,” “Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire,” “Para mi familia” and “Let the Communio Continue.”

Yes, my friends, let the communio continue, and let it be vast and ever-reaching to all the ends of the earth. May God bless you, Class of 2018, and may you continue to leave your mark. You will do wonders.  

Responses to “Ask the Abbot” questions are penned by St. Norbert College staff in the name of Abbot Bernard Pennings, who founded St. Norbert College in 1898. 

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