Speech of Prof Walter Iwanenko, Vice President, Gannon University

Your Eminence Cardinal Edwin O’Brien,

Your Eminence Archbishop Pier battista Pizzaballa,

President Ayoub

Your Excellencies,

Distinguished Guests,

Faculty, and Staff of AUM

The families of the Class of 2017

Thank you for welcoming my familyand me to the beauty of Jordan, the historic City of Madaba, and the amazing campus of AUM.

To the Graduating Class of 2017,congratulations, you did it!

How exciting to be the first graduating class to celebrate this wonderful event on the AUM campus. I am honored and privileged to share this special day with you and your families and guests. 

My charge to the Class of 2017 is simple.The world is changing at the fastest pace known to man.  With change comes challenges. Turn those challenges into opportunities to help othersand believe in the possibilities. When you seek goodnessand a relationship with God thru helping others, success will follow and anything is possible. When you seek success only, you limit your possibilities.

AUM is graduating over 400 students today.If each of you changed the lives of just 10 people. And they changed the lives of 10 people and this cycle repeated 5 times you would have impacted 40 million people.  Each of you have the opportunity to make a difference in the world.

I believe there are three major areas of change that you can turn into opportunities to improve the lives of others.

The first is climate change. Climate change and its impact on the environmentis already influencing economic conditions across the globe. Back home in Erie Pennsylvania we are seeing the loss of tree species vital to the lumber industry and rising water temperatures in our streams are threatening the survival of native fish.  Across the world we are witnessing climate change migration, fresh water security concerns, and we are witnessing the direct impact of climate change on human health. How can addressing these issues help improve the lives of others? Believe in the possibilities.

The second area of change is continued advancement oftechnologies. Computing capabilities, big data storage, and modalities are dynamic, fluid, and changing the way the world does business. The digitation of matter has resulted in the first 3D printed spine implant and the first 3D printed car is anticipated to be completed by 2022. That is within the next 5 years. How can you use changing technology to improve the lives of others? Believe in the possibilities.

The third area of change is the modernization of education and how we learn. It is estimated that a week’s worth of the New York Times contains more information than a person was likely to come across in a lifetime in the 18th century.  Harnessing new modes of learning and teaching that will focus oninformation literacy and how to process the increasing volume of information will be vital in modernizing higher education across the globe.No one can be an expert in everything so the key is collaboration. This includes increased collaboration and information sharing between governments, universities, corporations, and global citizens. How will you collaborate and use technology to change the lives of others? Believe in the possibilities.

Class of 2017 you are graduating from an institution that has a missionto develop leaders who are dedicated to benefitting society and resolving local and global problems. Because of the AUM mission many of you have been involved in projects over the past several years with Gannon University. Our institutions have shared faculty and have addressed issues like freshwater quality, 3D printing, and new teaching models.I want to thank you for inspiring transformation. The agreement that we will sign todaywill expand the exchange of faculty and staff between our universities, support the exchange of publications and research projects, increase the number of opportunities for semester study abroad for both AUM and GU students, and support collaboration to create potential joint-degree programs between AUM and GU within the field of Business. Class of 2017 this would not have happened without you. You have left a legacy for those who follow.

Because of the foundation, you have laid what great things can we do together as the AUM/GU family to improve the lives of others?I Believe in the possibilities.

How will you continue to inspire those who are coming behind you?  I may not have the chance to meet each and every one of you individuallyand the next graduating classes may not have the chance to meet you but we can stay connected virtually. How will we do this?  We will do it with technology. We have these (take out your cell phone). Class of 2017 you have inspired me to start a TWITTER account. Our campus in Erie Pennsylvania is eager to meet you. As you have welcomed me to the AUM family we welcome you to the GU family. Class of 2017 and guests. Please take out your cell phones. Please take a picture and tweet it using #AUMGUfamily.

This is how we will stay connected and this is one way you can continue to stay in touch with the relationships you have made AUM. Please share your successes and continue toinspire the classes to follow. This is how you can give back and support AUM as alumn.

Class of 2017 when you begin the next stage of your lives and look for your opportunity to make the world a better place be more daring, passionate, inventive, ambitious, but also more humble, respectful, generous, and kind. The world needs the 2017 graduating class of AUM. God bless you, God bless AUM. Go find your opportunities and believe in the possibilities!