Michael F. Collins, M.D.
On the Occasion of the Emmanuel College Commencement
May 11, 2013
Could I ask each of you here assembled to hold the hand of the person sitting next to you?
I know, as humans, it would be easier and more comfortable to hold the paw of a dog, but I have been given one moment to speak with you and I want to give you a commencement address you will never forget!
Esteemed President, Sr. Janet; Chair Hynes; member of the Board of Trustees; faculty; fellow graduates; ladies and gentlemen:
I stand before you today cloaked in humility as I receive this honorary degree for a life’s work that is yet incomplete. I recognize fully that most everywhere in education we do not award incompletes!
Over the past few months, at nearby Children’s Hospital, I have had the privilege to visit a nine-year-old boy whose life is challenged by a childhood leukemia. On the day he was to undergo a bone marrow aspiration procedure, I wanted to make a special effort to visit so that I could hold his hand and those of his parents.
As I entered his room, there were doctors and nurses and family members surrounding his bed. Each of us was there to comfort him.
Despite all of our best intentions, this young boy chose to hold the hand of a volunteer at the hospital, a person who gave freely of their time to console and comfort our little patient. That volunteer was an Emmanuel student.
Imagine the power of your Emmanuel education, if you go through life endowed with the values and intellect you have gleaned while on this campus, all the while recognizing that those whose lives you will impact need most the loving care you possess within your heart.
You have the ability to transform the human condition through simple acts of kindness as you extend that love through the touch of your hand.
This Chancellor was taught that powerful lesson by an Emmanuel student.
It is an enormous privilege to be with you as you set out to change the world one hand at a time!