GOFFSTOWN - Members of St. Anselm College's Class of 2014 were advised to follow their hearts to achieve success and make a difference at their graduation ceremony on Saturday.
It was the college's 121st commencement, but the first Steven DiSalvo presided over as president. He thanked the 417 graduates for making his first year special.
"While the world around us may move at a rapid speed, I urge you to remember all of those St. Anselm hours, and find time to cultivate those habits that made your time with us so special," DiSalvo said.
Journalist Bob Schieffer, moderator of "Face the Nation," reminisced about his time covering politics, often in New Hampshire. He asked graduates to take on the challenge of fixing this country's broken political system.
"I urge you to turn to public service and not away from it, not because it is easy but because it is hard, Schieffer said. "You must demand more from our politics and yourselves."
The most important thing the students learned over the past four years are the things they learned about themselves, Schieffer said.
He told the class that if they pursue something they like to do, success will follow. He stressed the importance of believing in themselves and in the people who encourage them.
"Remember and treasure those who encouraged you to follow your dreams - they are your true friends. And forget those who tried to talk you out of it. They are not worth worrying about," Schieffer said.
In her student address, Emily Donovan, an education studies major, recapped the personal growth students have experienced over the last four years as they formed a tight-knit community.
"Through all of our experiences, intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, through things we now understand and things we still cannot put into words, we have gained so much," Donovan said.
The President's Award for Service and Citizenship was presented to Lyndsay Nicole Robison, a politics major. Justin Martin Eckilson, a history major, earned the Chancellor's Award for the graduate with the highest academic average with a GPA of 3.96.
After the ceremony, graduates greeted family members on the lawn.
"It feels great," said graduate Cameron Foster. "I'm so happy to have finally finished up and I'm ready to move on to the next chapter of my life."
Alexandra Lagoutis said she was sad to leave the campus she's grown to love, but excited to use what she's learned as she moves on to something new.