Franciscan University of Steubenville Holds Commencement

“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire,” Curtis Martin, the commencement speaker, told the 71st graduating class of Franciscan University of Steubenville Saturday.

Martin, who is the president and founder of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students and 1993 alumnus of the school, was quoting the words of St. Catherine of Siena.

Martin spoke to the students about how their faith would not always be easy or seem logical at times, but would lead them to the right place if they listened.

“What Christ asks of you is not always going to make sense,” he said.

Martin said that he was not always the man that stood before the crowd at the Finnegan Fieldhouse.

He talks in his bio about his life as an undergraduate student.

“I spent all my time pursuing fun because I believed the lie that fun leads to happiness,” he wrote.

It was in those early years, that he found his way back to his faith and eventually lead him to pursue a master’s degree in theology at Franciscan.

It was during that pursuit that he, with the help of his theology teacher, Scott Hahn, Archbishop Charles Chaput and fellow alumnus Edward Sri that Martin formed the idea for FOCUS, a Catholic missionary organization for college students.

Per Martin, FOCUS started the group in 1998 with two part-time staff members and 20 students — they now have more than 800 full-time employees at over 150 campuses — and are reaching more than 60,000 young people.

The Rev. Sean O. Sheridan, university president, said Martin is so effective with the students because “young people are hungry for the truth. They want wisdom. They long to live lives full of meaning and purpose.”

Martin encouraged the graduates to adhere to “radical discipline” when it comes to their faith.

“Now go set the world on fire,” he concluded.

Several of the students graduating Saturday were ready to go just that.

Alyssa StaAgueda, who was getting her nursing degree, said her time at the university was “unexpectedly extraordinary.”

“You have growth in every aspect of your life,” she said.

Fellow nursing graduate Isabella Velasquez said, “This day is more about the people that got me here – my teachers, parents, friends and the lord.”

Marketing graduate Paul Radatovich said he had both a “spiritual and educational growth” at the school.

James Bolyog, International Business graduate, said he first came the school to take advantage of the commuter grant for local high school graduates, but stayed because of so much more.

“(It was nice) to be close to my family, but I got a great education,” he said.

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