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Pittsburgh, May 9 -- Members of the La Roche College class of 2005 marked the beginning of a new phase in their lives by receiving their degrees at the College’s 40th commencement ceremony. Relatives and friends of 175 graduates joined members of the La Roche community for the annual ceremony in the Kerr Fitness and Sports Center, held on Saturday, May 7.

Graduates benefited from the guidance of Congresswoman Melissa Hart, this year’s commencement speaker, whose district includes Pittsburgh’s North Hills. In her address to the class of 2005, she called on the graduates to remain open to unexpected challenges or unplanned happenings in their lives.

“I’d be willing to bet that some of the best experiences of your life didn’t come about because of meticulous planning and careful research. They were merely a part of the everyday spontaneity or the inherent lack of certainty in the world,” reflected Hart. “Regardless of the choices you make for your life from here on, they limit you only to the extent that you allow them to. You could wake up tomorrow and view life differently, not quite sure what your role should be. We have all experienced this. The question is whether or not you will embrace such moments, and trust your heart and pursue your dreams.”

This past fall, voters in the fourth Congressional district re-elected Hart to a serve a third term in the U.S. House of Representatives. During her four years in office, Hart has championed the causes of domestic violence and abandoned newborn children. A member of the House Ways and Means Committee, Hart has also been instrumental in securing funding for so-called “brownfields” in Pittsburgh, abandoned industrial sites that are often transformed into business and entrepreneurial ventures. Prior to her election to Congress in 2001, Hart served for ten years in the Senate of Pennsylvania. She is an Allegheny County native and a graduate of North Allegheny High School.

In her remarks to the graduates, Sister Candace Introcaso, La Roche president, reminded students to search for balance in their lives.

“When you were a student, you learned the fine art of juggling: classes, studying, family, job, friends, and, dare I say, maintaining a social life on top of all of this. You are probably experts on multi-tasking,” said Introcaso. “However, I want to caution you as you leave your role of student and begin to focus on your career. Don’t get so consumed by your work that you lose touch with what is really important in life.”

Howard J. Ishiyama, vice president for academic affairs, served as master of ceremonies for commencement. Janet Gates, associate professor of psychology, was this year’s class marshal.

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