End of Year — Students

“Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained.” — Marie Curie

Dear Students:

The finish line is nearly upon us. Soon the presentations, papers, and exams will fade into the background as you set off on summer adventures or prepare for a new chapter post-graduation.

I am grateful for your curiosity, your enthusiasm, your creativity, and your contributions — all of which make a lasting impact on this special community, one that is called to seek truth, serve generously, and cultivate hope.

You dedicated yourself to academic, artistic, and athletic achievement. You conducted undergraduate research and presented at regional and national conferences. You studied abroad and attended on-campus cultural events with your sisters and brothers from around the world. You participated in internships and experiential learning opportunities to further your education. You demonstrated generosity and served communities near and far — volunteering through the Day of Caring and Café Manna, devoting your Spring Break to service trips domestically and abroad, and raising funds through SALT’s World Relief Campaign and Dance Marathon, among numerous charitable endeavors. Your accomplishments continue to shape this community of learning.

You have learned what it means to be your most excellent self and, I hope, you have also experienced failure and gained essential wisdom from that experience, in preparation for what I am confident will be bright and successful futures.

Truly, each of you is gifted for something, and Marie Curie’s words remind us of the importance of perseverance and confidence in pursuit of using our gifts for the sake of the world.

For those of you who will graduate next weekend, I wish you God’s blessings as you pursue your dreams, act with integrity, and search for truth with perseverance, confidence, and thoughtfulness during this next chapter. I have no doubt you will both continue your success and wrestle with failure as you go out into the world. I encourage you to stay in touch, with me and with your faculty mentors, and share your stories with your alma mater.

For those of you who will return in the fall, I hope this summer offers an opportunity to relax, rejuvenate, spend time with friends and loved ones, and gain valuable experiences and insights through internships, work, and travel. I look forward to welcoming you back in August and to hearing your stories.


Mark A. Heckler, Ph.D.
Valparaiso University