Highlights from Marquette’s 2024 Commencement ceremonies

Marquette University’s 143rd Commencement was held Saturday, May 11, with 1,586 undergraduates, 758 master’s degree recipients, 437 professional studies graduates and 71 Ph.D. recipients celebrating at Fiserv Forum. 

Below are some highlights of the speeches shared during Commencement weekend and photo galleries from each of the ceremonies: 

President Michael R. Lovell

“Today is the culmination of your journeys at Marquette. We are here today to commemorate your dedication, resiliency and hard work, and your many accomplishments gives us the perfect reason to celebrate. 

At previous graduations, I would typically share a few stories about graduates who demonstrate the inspiring spirit of your class. This year it seems more appropriate to hold you up as an entire class, a class that stands alone in our university’s history as one that overcame remarkable hardship to make it here today.” 

Shital Vora, 2024 undergraduate Commencement speaker

“You know that feeling in your gut? That instinct, that inner voice that guides you through life’s twists and turns? That is your ticket to greatness. Trust it, nurture it, and never ever settle for anything else. Now, I understand this might sound like a traditional Commencement speech spiel to you, but here’s the kicker: it’s the absolute truth. In a world full of distraction and noise, your gut is your most reliable navigator. 

You have to ignore the naysayers, ignore the doubters and the noise and the static that’s around you. That’s just background noise compared to the symphony of your inner voice. Your inner voice is the conglomeration of your parents, your friends, your mentors, your teachers, your most trusted inner circle. It’s like a colander — all the things that are important stay, and the rest of the distracting things filter out. So why should you listen to it? Because your inner voice knows you better than anyone else ever will.”

Peggy Troy, 2024 graduate Commencement speaker

“Graduates, my wish for you is a life that is fulfilling and that has purpose. You’ve had the privilege to attend this fine institution, expanding your knowledge, your view of the world, and your potential to make a positive impact on all those around you. You have the tools that you need to succeed. Almost 500 years ago, St. Ignatius of Loyola took a risk by following his passion and we are here today because of that.  

You have all the benefits of a Marquette education. How will your career, your life, extend this tradition in new and transformative ways? I really hope that wherever your life takes you, you will follow your passion, you will be a servant leader, embrace failure, take care of yourselves, and be kind to others. If you do, I know you will Be The Difference that makes our world a better place.” 

Ashley Tan, Opus College of Engineering graduate and 2024 undergraduate student speaker

“Throughout our time at Marquette, we have been taught the importance of marrying our life experience with our education. Our class had the extra challenge of an education shaped by the pandemic, which exposed areas where we are lacking in care for the whole and emphasized how a service mindset is crucial to the survival of society. This has allowed us to build a community that strives to not dominate, but work in harmony, with a diverse and complex world. 

I have sought to exercise this practice through my work with Engineers Without Borders, a service engineering organization at Marquette that works alongside communities in Guatemala to meet basic human needs. I have learned to foster equity through innovation, and seen the importance of respect, communication and companionship from our global community. I have learned the importance of improving and sustaining our common home, to ensure the safety and welfare of not just our current populations, but also future generations to come. 

I have learned that engineering, and all careers and work that we do as Marquette students, are an opportunity for us to serve and improve. The work you do matters and impacts the world around you, and having this mindset is essential to our experience as Marquette alumni.”

Paula Winiarski, doctoral graduate in nursing and graduate student Commencement speaker 

“Know that sometimes it will be your season of life, and sometimes, it just won’t be. I distinctly remember starting nurse practitioner school thinking, ‘You know what? We’re just going to take this one day at a time. What possibly could go wrong?’ Well, then a full-blown pandemic happened, and my profession in particular being an ICU nurse was at the eye of the storm. 

I think all of the nurses that stood up today can agree with me that that wasn’t necessarily our season, but we are stronger for it. Remember that sometimes the toughest of seasons will bring out more grit and character in you than you could ever imagine.”

Gabby Chun, Opus College of Engineering graduate and Baccalaureate Mass student speaker

“I struggled navigating college life, which caused me to get stuck on God’s ‘why’ behind these situations. I’m sure you all have had times when you had to scramble to change your semester schedule, push yourself to be more involved in the community, and overcome bouts of social anxiety. Training myself to remember challenges like these and the blessings that came out of them sustained me until I learned God’s ‘why.’ 

The professor I gained from a schedule change encouraged me to become a writing center tutor, a peer mentor from a student organization I hesitantly joined recommended me to work on an art and engineering exhibition, and a leader I met on my first retreat pushed me to be more active in the Campus Ministry community, where I found my closest friends. 

Time and time again, the pieces of our lives can fall differently than how we assume they will. By seeing opportunities in all that we face, we can understand how the changes in our initial plans have led to new avenues of growth.”

Photo galleries

Undergraduate Commencement

Graduate Commencement

Baccalaureate Mass