Former Senator Edward O’Connor, Jr. ’64 Serves as Keynote Speaker at 2014 Michaelmas Convocation

OConnorEdward O’Connor, Jr. ’64, former New Jersey senator, made two visits to Saint Peter’s this week. The first visit was to celebrate his 50th reunion with fellow classmates from the Class of 1964. The second visit was to tell current students about how his experience at Saint Peter’s prepared him for life during the 2014 Michaelmas Convocation.

The annual Michaelmas Convocation follows the medieval tradition of convening the faculty and students to start the term and is celebrated in the honor of the feast of the archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. During the ceremony, the University recognizes the Saint Peter’s students with the highest grade point averages in the senior class and welcomes them into the Most Noble Order of the Peacock, the University’s top honor society. A number of students also received achievement awards in all academic areas, including the sciences, arts and business, among others.

O’Connor graduated from Saint Peter’s in 1964 with a degree in modern languages and went on to obtain his law degree from Fordham University School of Law. He served in the New Jersey Senate from 1982 to 2002.

During his keynote address, O’Connor shared how his Jesuit education at Saint Peter’s prepared him for further studies, for his career and for his life. This task was relatively easy for O’Connor because his experience at Saint Peter’s played a tremendous role in his future. He was advised to take classes that he enjoyed and there was an overall emphasis on the core curriculum.

“Four years of philosophy, theology and a variety of courses in the liberal arts, prepared us to think, organize and analyze,” said O’Connor. “The faculty were truly outstanding and they challenged you to take the learning experience to the next level. The Jesuit tradition of ‘men and women for others’ helped me to understand what service and sacrifice to others involved and was the foundation of my career in law and in government.”

As fellow classmates and family members looked on, the following students were welcomed into the Most Noble Order of the Peacock: Prajjwol Gautam ’15, Matthew Holowienka ’15, Peter Cannon ’15, Sherif Elkattawy ’15, Muhammad Mir ’15, Clint Sevilla ’15, Mary Zeoli ’15, Shubham Adhikari ’15, Joely Reyes ’15, Nicole Colucci ’15 and Prajwal Niraula ’15. These students attained the highest scholastic average in all courses for their first three years of college.

Eugene J. Cornacchia, Ph.D., president of Saint Peter’s University, congratulated the students, faculty and parents on their successes and shared his thoughts on the importance of the Michaelmas Convocation.

“Michaelmas is intended to stir-up the thoughts and feelings of the students who are honored,” Cornacchia said. “It calls you to look back and appreciate what you have been given and how your lives have been graced.”

At the conclusion of the ceremony, the students and their proud professors and family members joined the Aidan C. McMullen Chorale to sing Saint’s Peter’s Alma Mater and left the Yanitelli Recreational Life Center reflecting on the words, “Truth is our guide, we shall not wander. God is our strength, we shall not fail. And our love will ever bind us. So that death will find us thine eternally.”