Teliah Beach '18, Renee Beaulieu-Banks MAHS'18 and Sylvia Vandenberg-Daves '18 gave commencement addresses to fellow graduates.
Winter commencement exercises were held on the St. Catherine University campus on December 20, 2018 at The O'Shaughnessy. Nearly 400 Katies joined the ranks of over 48,000 living St. Kate's alumni across the U.S. and abroad.
The University's three colleges — The College for Women, the College for Adults and the Graduate College — were each represented by a student speaker. Alumna Erin Murphy MAOL'05 was the guest speaker.
Teliah Beach was chosen to represent graduates in the College for Adults as a commencement speaker. Beach earned a bachelor's degree in healthcare management.
She's a pharmacy technician at HealthPartners, a volunteer, and a mother of two. Beach was described by one of her faculty mentors as a leader who uses her voice to make a positive difference in the classroom and in her community.
Excerpts from Beach's address:
"I want to thank my family, friends, colleagues, and St. Catherine University faculty and staff for being my support system. It takes a village to get through any learning process, and I needed everyone involved during this experience. I appreciate all the help from encouraging words, to bringing food, so I didn’t have to live off ramen; and being present when I needed someone with me. Like me, I’m sure all of you in tonight’s graduating class learned from watching the great leaders here, both in teaching positions or as staff. Thank you for every contribution that made us better together."
"I knew I wanted to work in health care after a trip to the science museum at age seven when a brain surgery video amazed me. Following that curiosity throughout school, and attending college visits, led me to St. Kate’s. I needed a supportive and flexible option where I could find my purpose while raising my son and working full time. As a St. Kate’s College for Adults student, I could build an impressive resume in addition to my transcript. I could write analysis essays; take full-time credits; be a full-time pharmacy technician; volunteer for a Girl Scout troop, or around the city; connect with future and present boss Katies; interview CEOs; raise a family, add onto my family, and graduate. The support and resources we have in this community will take us where we need to go."
"This is what it means to be a bold Katie. We stand up with a fire burning passion and know that what we say can make a difference. The discussions we have force us to form new perspectives from each others views that allow our futures to be inclusive of those we will lead. I love being a part of us as a whole; knowing I’m not alone and we have each other’s backs. The struggle is real, and so is our influence. Women don’t have to be silent; our words inspire action, our minds are full of power, and our hearts beat with passion."
Sylvia Vandenberg-Daves was chosen as the commencement speaker representing the College for Women. Vandenberg-Daves graduated with a bachelor's degree in English and women’s studies.
During her St. Kate’s career, she worked as a tutor in the O'Neill Center, a teaching assistant in the English Department, a PRIDE club leader, a review committee member for Catherine’s Monologues and Ariston, and an assistant in the English Department office. A faculty member called her enthusiastic, understanding and deeply invested in helping others.
Excerpts from Vandenberg-Daves' commencement address:
"When I first arrived at St. Kate's, I was drawn in by the gardens, the pond, and the woods, and by the mission to educate women to lead and influence. I could not have known then how I would be challenged and supported to become the woman I am today. My time at St. Kate's has been filled with moments of clarity and growth that will influence my thinking for the rest of my life."
"This internal call to action, this understanding of the impact of my voice, is the value of a St. Kate's liberal arts degree. We cannot study art, sociology, nursing, philosophy, English, or biology, without beginning to uncover and understand the threads of connection between all living things; how the fruits of our labor are passed from hand to hand. And once we understand how closely we are held together by this world and how much our own actions matter to the greater whole, we cannot be content to stand in complacency, apathy, or fear."
"St. Kate's has encouraged and empowered me, and each of you, to become someone who is equipped to lead and influence with compassion, self-assurance, and a solid foundation of knowledge and skills. It is here that we learned to advocate for ourselves and for others; to tackle complex questions; to listen deeply; to hold conflicting truths in our hearts; to claim our educations with humility. And it is here that we learn not only to look beyond ourselves, but to take down walls, expanding our understanding of neighbor in service of compassion and connection."