Speakers remind graduates to find strength in morals at Interfaith Baccalaureate Service

Reuben Brigety, the dean of the Elliott School of International Affairs, speaks at the Interfaith Baccalaureate Service Saturday morning. MEDIA CREDIT: JACK FONSECA | HATCHET PHOTOGRAPHER

About 100 faculty, graduates and families gathered for the Undergraduate Interfaith Baccalaureate Service at the Western Presbyterian Church Saturday morning to reflect on how faith has shaped their lives.

The ceremony included group prayer and musical performances from graduates and introductions from Reverend Lauren Cunningham, the pastor of the Western Presbyterian Church, University President Thomas LeBlanc and former Student Association President Peak Sen Chua.

Here’s some advice from the speakers:

1. Remember your truths

Chaplain Meraj Allahrakha, a professor of economics and adviser to the GW Muslim Student Association, said it is despair and hardship that can lead someone away from their faith. He said “temptations come in many flavors” and students must always remember their own truths.

2. Rely on your faith

Elliott School of International Affairs Dean Reuben Brigety, an elder at Western Presbyterian Church, reminded students they have gone through a series of “hurdles” in their lives, and will likely go through many more, but they should return to their faith when making difficult choices.

3. Find your spark

Student speaker Jenna Friedberg, the former president of the Jewish Student Association, who obtained her master’s degree in American Studies Friday, closed her speech with a line from this week’s Torah reading: “As God sees it, the soul of the man is a spark of his own fire.” She told graduates to find their own spark and never stop searching for their potential.

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