Lobb: Thank you, Villanova

Matt Kelly

So this is it. The final issue of the Villanovan. For me it’s more monumental than that – for me it’s the last column, the last piece of writing I will pen as a staff member. Late nights at 201 Dougherty -where else can one see the sun set and rise in the course of one day? Deadlines, developing stories, and the oh, so daunting pressures of being a features editor. And so I had to have a swan song.

So how can I sum up these four years? I can’t. It would takes hours of stories, boxes of pictures and more time then you have to sum up my Villanovan experience. Of course, I did try- a few weeks ago when I had the opportunity to participate in the University’s commencement speaker competition. I reflected on how to address a class reaching their destination, on a University that has brought us to this moment. What I discovered was that in addition to this stellar academic education, there is something more I will carry with me. This University teaches more than the lessons that we learn within the confines of a classroom; Villanova has also taught me to look up at the stars.

And not in the sense of astronomy, heaven knows I struggled through that for two semesters. I’m talking about the learning that comes by way of experience – experiences that made me look closer and deeper at the world around me. These experiences – the Balloon Days, the Special Olympics weekends, the mission trips – helped broaden my understanding of the world and its people. They polished us into a people of dynamic character and will distinguish us from other graduates.

Behind these experiences is a community dedicated to serving others, a community bathed in the values of integrity and compassion, with the ultimate goal of bettering humanity. And not just on the happy, colorful days. On a grim September day a year and half ago, I went to church expecting to be alone, discovering that it was too crowded to get through the doors. It is days like this when I am most proud to go to Villanova. In a world that is continually focused on maintaining secularism, it is special to be able to celebrate our spirituality.

I am thankful for all who have contributed to this community because they have helped to make me a more confident, considerate and compassionate individual. I will forever echo the lessons I have learned here and mirror the examples and values embodied on this campus. Experience life. Experience people. After four years on the Villanovan, I’ve know everyone has a story – you simply have to be willing to listen.

Turn ordinary moments into a collection of extraordinary memories and illuminate the world with your knowledge and talents, but also your spirit.

OK, so maybe it was a little advice, maybe a little encouragement. But more importantly, it is a thank you. It is a thank you to my parents, and their checkbook, to my professors, my friends, my classmates and everyone else in this University community who’ve helped me see the world and the people in it. It is a thank you to everyone who helped me step outside and look up at the stars.