Chris Matthews 67, host of NBCs The Chris
Matthews Show and MSNBCs Hardball, delivered
the principal address and received an honorary degree on
Friday, May 23, as Holy Cross graduated 697 men and women
during the Colleges 157th commencement ceremony.
The author of Hardball (1988), Kennedy & Nixon (1996), Now
Let Me Tell You What I Really Think (2001), and American:
Beyond Our Grandest Notions (2002), Matthews has distinguished
himself as a journalist, Washington bureau chief, presidential
speechwriter, congressional staffer and best-selling author
of four books. He joined the San Francisco Examiner in
1987, serving as Washington Bureau Chief for 13 years.
Prior to entering journalism, Matthews served as a speechwriter
for President Jimmy Carter and a top aide to House Speaker
Thomas P. ONeill, Jr.
In his address to the graduates, Matthews
recalled his own years on Mount St. James, where he first
earned the nickname Arguing
Each evening, Matthews explained, I would
go up to the old Kimballthis is long before Hogancafeteria
to buy a Coke, hang out and talk politics. Massachusetts
Congressman Edward Markey, who is a friend of mine and a
B.C. double eagle, says I still do. I make a
living, he says, just going down to the Holy Cross
cafeteria each evening.
Speaking through a rain shower, in his
trademark high volume, Matthews began his speech by saying, In 10 minutes
flat, Im going to tell you how to fight for your best
values, find your way in this world, pursue your dream and
follow-up on the very best hunch you ever had about yourself.
Matthews cited the Holy Cross Commencement
of 1905 and invoked the principal address of that graduations
Ninety-eight years ago, he said, President
Theodore Roosevelt stood here and argued that the world of
politics was divided in two groups: men who mean well and
cannot do anything and the other of men who are thoroughly
efficient but dont mean well at all. I want to
see a combination of the power of efficient action with the
power of fealty to lofty ideals, he told the 1905 graduating
class. Teddy wanted to get the good people ready for action.
Me, too. Today, like the great Rough Rider himself, Ive
tried to level the playing field a bit, because while its
morally healthy to be innocent of cheating, as the Jesuits
were the first to grasp, its not healthy to be innocent
of the game. So today is your day. But dont worry.
There will be time to dream, to think, to try, to fail, to
learn, to carry on, to dream some more. You leave here with
two gems for which men and women have come here to seek from
the world over: A rebellious spirit that triumphs even now
over repressive government. And an only-in-America attitude
toward what is possible. They are this countrys crown
jewels and today, my fellow Crusaders, through the grace
of God, hard work and hope, they are yours.
Other individuals receiving honorary degrees at Commencement
were Iris Cantor and Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J.
A philanthropist and health care advocate,
Iris Cantor is also known as a patron of the arts. As president
of the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation, her extraordinary
efforts have led to the founding of the Iris Cantor Womens
Health Center at New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical
Center and of the Iris Cantor-UCLA Womens Health Center
and the Iris Cantor Center for Breast Imaging, also at UCLA.
Cantors passionate support for the visual arts has
been acclaimed internationally. Among the many awards she
has received are the honorable distinction of Chevalier in
the French National Order of the Legion of Honor for her
work promoting appreciation for the French sculptor Auguste
Rodin, and the prestigious title of Cavaliere Ufficiale in
the Order of Merit, one of Italys highest public service
awards. At Holy Cross the name of the Iris and B. Gerald
Cantor Gallery commemorates Iris Cantors vision and
generosity, as do artworks by Rodin and others that as a
result of her gift grace the campus.
Widely regarded as the most prominent, living American Catholic
theologian, Cardinal Dulles was the first American theologian
to be named to the College of Cardinals and the first American
Jesuit to become a cardinal. He is the author of 21 books
and 700 articles, and his work is a foundation of theology
courses and ecclesiological discussions. Cardinal Dulles
is the Laurence J. McGinley Professor of Religion and Society
at Fordham University.
The valedictory address was delivered
by Jonathan Favreau 03.
A political science major from North Reading, Mass., Favreau
was chosen from among 17 of the top 30 students who submitted
speeches to the 2003 Valedictorian Selection Committee. While
at Holy Cross, Favreau has remained very active on campus
and in the community. He has served as the director of the
Welfare Solidarity Project of Worcester and volunteered with the
student-staffed Oncology Volunteer Effort at UMASS Memorial
Hospital (M.O.V.E.) An avid writer, he has also worked as
the editor of The Crusaders opinion section.
One of the Colleges Dana Scholars, Favreau was named
a Harry S. Truman Scholar in March of 2002. The $30,000 scholarship
is awarded to approximately 75 students nationwide each year
who have extensive records of public and community service,
are committed to careers in government or public service,
and possess outstanding leadership skills. In the spring
of 2001, Favreau worked as a press intern for U.S. Sen. John
Kerry in the Holy Cross Washington Semester Away Program.
His thesis, which was based in part on his work in Washington,
was awarded the Maurizio Vannicelli Prize for the best research
paper produced in the Washington Semester Away Program. Favreau
presented his paper, titled The Politics of Abandonment:
White Working Class Defection from the Democratic Party, at
the College last November. In addition to receiving a bound
copy of his thesis, Favreau was presented with a book award
during Commencement exercises. Working as a press aide on
John Kerrys presidential campaign following graduation,
Favreau plans to attend law school and pursue a career in
In his address, Favreau urged his classmates to think about
the nature and well-being of their future communities:
There seems to be one last bulletin here that Career
Planning forgot to drop in our mailboxes, he said. Now,
I realize that most of us already have jobs, but all of these
positions are part time, and Im sure all of us have
the necessary qualifications. The employers are our communities,
and while each position is already being filled by millions
all over the world, there is a desperate need for more help.
And heres some of what we need: Soccer coaches, Den
Mothers, PTA members, Neighbors who help you move in and
promise to keep in touch when they move you out, Friends
who come early and stay late, Shoulders to cry on, Big Brothers
and Sisters, Family comedians, Tee Ball Umpires, Letter-to-the-Editor
authors, Voters who care about any issue from Traffic Lights
and Tax Reform to Potholes and Peace on Earth, Organizers
and Activists, Critics and Supporters, Voices for those who
are having trouble getting theirs heard, Summertime Porch-Sitters
with special degrees in talking about everything and nothing
until the mosquitoes bite, Mentors, Philanthropists, Signature
collectors, Boo-boo fixers, Grocers to the hungry, Roofers
to the homeless, and Believersespecially believers.
Valedictorian Jonathan Favreau '03