Importance of Family and Work Stressed in AMU Commencement Speech
Published on Saturday, 05 May 2012 22:06
America is facing a “crisis in our culture” caused by a breakdown of the traditional family and a declining work ethic, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush said Saturday,and he urged graduates at Ave Maria University’s commencement exercises to “work hard at being strong models for wholesome, loving family life.” Right, Gov. Bush (center) receiving congratulations from AMU board chairman Michael Timmis while university founder Tom Monaghan prepares to present an honorary degree.
“We know in today’s America that the ordinary sacrifices and duties of life and family are being taken up by fewer and fewer people,” Mr. Bush said, referring to statistics showing children raised outside traditional two-parent families are more likely to do poorly in school, have emotional and psychological problems, go to jail and have children out of wedlock themselves.
“Morality and success are not coincidental, but causative,” he said. “Being good leads to good things and not following a moral code leads to bad.”
Acknowledging that there are many examples of children doing well who come from non-traditional families, the former governor said, “The absence of core moral structures, a family with two parents, working together to love their children with all their heart and all their soul, belonging to and participating in a house of worship -- all these things are all essential to the success of a family in modern America.
There also is “devotion and joy in work,” Mr. Bush said, adding that rewards are not measured solely by financial measures.
“Not all endeavors lead to personal wealth. Most don’t. Wealth is but a crude measure of the joy one receives from work. Our faith recognizes the world of work as essential.”
Mr. Bush appeared at a brief news conference before the commencement exercises at which he recalled attending the groundbreaking for Ave Maria University when “it was just a tomato field.” The main subject at the news conference, however, was politics, and the former governor again denied that he is interested in the vice presidency and touted Florida Senator Marco Rubio as the best running mate for Mitt Romney.
A total of 175 degrees – 138 undergraduate and 37 graduate – were conferred at the graduation at the Tom Golisano Field House.
“Many people said I’ve lost a fortune,” university founder Tom Monaghan told the graduates at the start of the ceremony. “But my fortune is you, and your striving to get to heaven.”
Ave Maria University President Jim Towey awarded honorary doctorate degrees to Mr. Bush as well as to William E. Simon Jr., an investor and philanthropist who ran unsuccessfully for governor of California. Pictured, Mr. Simon is 2nd from left, with Mr. Timmis, Mr. Monaghan and Mr. Towey.
Several Ave Maria residents were among those receiving degrees Saturday, including those below (left to right): Christine Mastandrea, Raquel Ledesma (with parents), Valedictorian Monica Waldstein, all of whom received Bachelor's Degrees, and Jeff Ball, who earned a Master of Theological Studies.