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Loyola at a Glance

Jindal jokes with grads, tells them to wear Katrina Class moniker with distinction

May 15, 2009

During Loyola University New Orleans’ 2009 Unified Commencement Ceremony, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal was lighthearted in his advice, but serious about his appreciation of this particular class’ fortitude.

"I certainly would be remiss if I didn't note this is a class of students who are nothing if not determined," said Jindal, who addressed the class at the Louisiana Superdome on Saturday, May 9. Jindal also received an honorary degree from the university for his service to Louisiana.

Of the 843 graduates participating in the commencement ceremony, 308 were students who enrolled in the summer and fall of 2005 when Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast. Jindal congratulated students for "their endurance and their commitment to our city, our state and Loyola University" and told those who were here during the hurricane to wear the "Katrina Class" moniker with distinction.

While he added regular flossing to his top 10 list of advice for students, Jindal also encouraged them to keep an open mind, seek the truth and dream big.

"Be a part of the political process and make your voice heard - even if it means doing something as crazy as being a Democrat. Go ahead and be a part of the process."

Honorary degree recipient Herbie Hancock also had words of wisdom to share. The chairman of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance and Grammy-award winning musician urged the class to "choose wisely. Breathe deeply. Recognize, celebrate and nurture your inner creativity and remember to listen to the music of your soul. Bring your imagination and artistry with you because it will serve you well as you try to make a much-needed difference in this big, wonderful, complicated world that awaits you."

In addition to Loyola’s graduates, seven students from the Monk Institute processed during the ceremony, the first class of the prestigious graduate-level jazz education program to be based at Loyola University New Orleans. Founded in 1986, the program was previously based in Los Angeles but moved to Loyola’s campus in 2007 in a commitment to New Orleans and to bringing music back to the city.

"Two years ago the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance moved to Loyola University with the mission of helping to restore the cultural life force of this city ravaged by the catastrophe of Hurricane Katrina," Hancock said.

"We promised to arrive with a horn in one hand and a hammer in the other. And now, two years later, I am proud to tell you that our institute and our first graduating class of seven incredibly talented musicians have played an important role in helping revitalize the soul of New Orleans through the music that makes the city so extraordinarily remarkable."

In addition to Jindal and Hancock, other honorary degree recipients included Leah Chase, chef and Dooky Chase Restaurant owner and supporter of the arts; Wardell Querzegue, legendary New Orleans music arranger, producer and bandleader; and Lt. Gen. (ret.) Russel Honoré, veteran of the U.S. Army who led military efforts in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina.

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Loyola at a Glance is written and distributed for the faculty, staff, students and friends of Loyola University New Orleans. It is published by the Office of Public Affairs, Greenville Hall, Box 909, 7214 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70118. (504) 861-5888.

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