Commencement 2019 | Villanova Magazine


Villanova President the Rev. Peter Donohue and Provost Patrick Maggitti at the stadium in graduation regalia

Navigating the Road Trip of Life

More than 2,500 graduates and 15,000 guests celebrated two days of pomp and circumstance in May for the Class of 2019 Commencement. New this year was a separate Graduate Commencement ceremony to celebrate the unique Villanova experiences and accomplishments of those earning graduate and doctoral degrees, in addition to the traditional ceremonies for undergraduate and Law students.

During the undergraduate Commencement ceremony, Life Is Good co-founder and honorary degree recipient Bert Jacobs ’87 CLAS addressed the Class of 2019, punctuated by a few tosses of signed frisbees into the eager audience seated on the Villanova Stadium field.

After returning home to Boston from a long and laborious road trip 25 years ago, Jacobs and his brother, John, founded their positive lifestyle brand, which is now worth $100 million and donates at least 10 percent of its annual net profits to the Life is Good Kids Foundation. Fittingly, in his speech, the Life Is Good “Chief Executive Optimist” shared tips for the road trip of life.

Three tips from Life Is Good Chief Executive Optimist:

1. Turn on the Lights

“Ralph Waldo Emerson said, ‘To the illuminated mind, the whole world burns and sparkles with light.’ When you wake up in the morning … make the decision to be an optimist. Focus on the good things in your life and the good things around you.”

2. Trust Your Navigation System

“Only you can choose what your value system is. ... Work for an organization that is bettering the world. Find your way with your navigation system — know what it is, know who you are, and act like it.”

3. Enjoy the Ride

“When we are young, everyone tells us we need more — more stuff, more money, more education, more clothes, more and more and more. But as we get older, we all come to realize that the only thing we need more of is time: time to do the things you love, and time to be with the people you love. … Protect your time with your life because, ladies and gentlemen, it is your life.”

Photos: John Shetron And Paul Crane

A mother in her graduation regalia with diploma in hand hugs her young daughter
Two graduates wearing their Marine Dress Uniforms, laughing and smiling on Graduation Day
Students in graduation regalia holding banners line up for the Baccalaureate Mass procession on campus
On stage, Commencement speaker Bert Jacobs at the podium in graduation regalia holding up a Life Is Good frisbee

Next in Nova-Worthy


An Arab and Islamic Studies and Political Science major, “MK” Smith ’19 CLAS delivered the undergraduate student address at Commencement