Ivany Addresses St. Thomas High School Grads
University of St. Thomas President Dr. Robert Ivany served as commencement speaker at St. Thomas High School in Houston on May 19. Both the University and the high school were founded by priests of the Congregation of St. Basil.
Ivany congratulated the 173 graduates of the high school and spoke about the courage they would need in college to adjust to the freedom of college life. He encouraged the students to make good choices in small and large ways, from deciding to attend class each day and avoiding negative peer pressure to pursuing alternative spring breaks helping others through Habitat for Humanity or Doctors Without Borders.
“Courage can show itself in unlikely places, in quiet ways in very modest men and women,” Ivany said.
Ivany spoke about the courage of his parents, who left Hungary as refugees for the United States in 1944, fleeing their homeland to escape the Soviet Army and Communism.
Leaving behind friends, relatives, possessions and their home, Ivany said his parents arrived in America without knowing a word of English, but worked relentlessly and resourcefully to give him and his sister a new start in life.
“They had the courage to leave everything and start a new life in a country where they couldn’t even say, ‘Hello,’” Ivany said to the graduates. “You, too, will face challenges and opportunities when you least expect it – in places where you never expected to be. If you have the courage to do the right thing in college, if you have made a habit of acting with faith in God and virtue in your heart, you will be ready to make courageous decisions.”
As graduates of a Basilian high school, Ivany said the students have an obligation to give back more to society than the average graduate.
“Be courageous,” Ivany said. “Make the right decisions in college and you will have the courage to make the right decisions for yourselves, your family and your country.”