2015 Virginia Commonwealth University School of Social Work Graduation Remarks

I was invited to share remarks at my graduation ceremony on behalf of the students receiving Master of Social Work degrees. It was an honor to have the opportunity. Here are my remarks:

To me, social work is a story. A story where each of the characters matter. They come alongside each other to introduce plot twists and turns into the grand narratives of life and individual lives. Justice is introduced, and captives are set free. Integrity is introduced, and the seeds of faith in each other are cultivated. Trust is introduced, and the other, the outlier, discovers they belong. Hope is introduced, and despair fades away. It is a story that leans into the promise of close proximity, where the social worker draws near to the fractures and fissures found in life though others may shrink away from them. 

I invite you to discover reverberations of your own story in the following words. I’m privileged to call some of you friend. You have introduced this beautiful story, into my life in such a way that I am no longer the same person I was when I started this program. We shared life in word and deed, a Friearean praxis if you will. You are an intervention that has shaped the story I find myself in. A story where I continually reimagine my own dignity and self worth. Thank you for fulfilling the social work promise of close proximity.

May we graduate today inviting those we encounter into a story of wholeness, a story of social citizenship, a story of social work. 


Tom Lynch, MSW remarks