Be creative, live simply and show mercy

Mount Mary University's 223 graduates meet the future with three simple messages.

Creativity, simplicity and mercy - familiar themes for Mount Mary students - were the dominant topics at the University's Commencement ceremony, held Saturday, May 14, 2016.

"Your potential in our global world is amazing; breathe the spirit of Mount Mary University into whatever field you go into," said Mary Anne Owens, SSND, Provincial Leader for the Central Pacific Province of the School Sisters of Notre Dame. The School Sisters of Notre Dame founded the University in 1913.

On an unusually blustery day in mid-May, Owens addressed the 223 graduates at the University's Bloechl Center, connecting Pope Francis' Year of Mercy within the Catholic Church to the mission of the students as they build their lives and careers.

She encouraged them to lead lives of "conscious simplicity," with a focus on family; a reverence for nature; engagement in meaningful work; collaboration within generations; and an appreciation for creative arts.

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University President Eileen Schwalbach, Ph.D., also stressed the influence of this "transformative education," which has long been the hallmark of the School Sisters of Notre Dame:

"You will always be part of the Mount Mary family, carrying out the legacy of the SSNDs," Schwalbach said. "You are the bold, creative leaders of today and tomorrow."

Also in the ceremony, Doug Dietz received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters for his work as an Innovation Architect at GE Healthcare and instructor at Stanford University. At GE, Dietz has compiled over two dozen patents for his designs of various pieces of medical imaging equipment.

He explained how redesigning a pediatric CT scanner from a sterile and scary object into a colorful, adventure-themed experience led to a reduction in the need for sedation and an increase in efficiency for such procedures. GE now markets a line of child-friendly MRI, X-Ray and CT scanners that take children on submarine expeditions, space odysseys and pirate adventures.

In 2013, Doug personally trained over 35 community members from Mount Mary in this creative thinking process. Based on this experience, Mount Mary developed its own design thinking workshops and over 100 employees have gone through these workshops. Design thinking has been adapted and applied in various courses as well as throughout administrative areas.

"Creativity starts with you; your spirit and behavior will change the culture in the workplace," Dietz told graduates. "We desperately need to have our cultures changed. I can't wait for you to move forward."

For more information about the May 2016 Commencement, visit