Red Cloud President delivers commencement address at Bridgewater State University

posted on January 28, 2013
by Jessica Hallstrom

Red Cloud’s president, Fr. George Winzenburg, delivered a stirring keynote address to over 800 graduating students, their families and friends during Bridgewater State University’s 26th annual Winter Commencement Convocation on January 25.

Fr. Winzenburg’s remarks centered on the lessons that can be drawn from the core Lakota values of respect, generosity, wisdom and courage. Recounting how many Red Cloud alumni return after college to support their communities, Winzenburg urged Bridgewater’s graduates to use their degrees not only to pursue their individual dreams but also to contribute to the public good.

“Whatever direction you will take, I urge you: Do not be afraid of differences in people, of fresh ideas, of dreams that stir your heart, of problems that seem intractable, of rugged terrain that complicates your journey. Strive for values that Lakota cherish: respect, generosity, wisdom, and courage. Feed the persons you will meet on your journey with compassion, mercy, forgiveness, and love,” he said.

Bridgewater State University President Dana Mohler-Faria, who invited Rev. Winzenburg to serve as the event’s keynote speaker, also stressed the importance of giving back to communities in need.

“You are among those who have a responsibility to be engaged and to change the world,” said Mohler-Faria to the new graduates. “As you prepare to make a living, make a life.”

Founded as a teachers college in 1840, Bridgewater State University’s mission is to empower individuals through higher education and to support and advance the public good. During his address, Fr. Winzenburg emphasized the importance of that mission, and pointed to Red Cloud’s shared commitment to public service.

“Our institutions are 1,860 miles apart, but we share much in common: high academic standards, excellence in teaching, a commitment to social justice, the preparation of students to be leaders in their community, and strategies to advance the economy in the region,” he said.

Fr. Winzenburg expressed his hope that an emerging partnership between Bridgewater State University and Red Cloud Indian School would continue to strengthen and grow in the future.

Read Fr. Winzenburg’s full speech.
Watch Fr. Winzenburg's full speech.

In the Photo:
Louis M. Ricciardi, Chairman of Bridgewater State University Board of Trustees
Fr. George Winzenburg, President of Red Cloud Indian School
Dr. Dana Mohler-Faria, President of Bridgewater State University
Photo Courtesy of Bridgewater State University, ©All Rights Reserved