Following is the text of remarks I made at the 2014 Gordon Tech Inspiration Celebration.
Thank you, Mary. And thank you to Gordon Tech and all of the other co-chairs of this event.
I’m super-pleased to be honored along with the Congregation of the Resurrection and my colleagues of 1985.
Sometimes think work out through the randomness of alphabetical and the natural order of things.
Harry Osterman sat behind me in freshman homeroom. O’CONNOR – O’NEIL – OSTERMAN. The power of alphabetical order. He also introduced me to my first politician, a guy named Richard M. Daley. Your services as a state rep and alderman, Harry, was certainly presaged in this building, as well as your home.
Barry Rodgers was my first friend in high school, mainly because we sat next to each other on the first day of school in September 1981 in the science lab. Again, alphabetical order and the order of the Congregation of the Resurrection held sway. O’NEIL – PREZIOSO – RAMIREZ – RODGERS. That was the four-table seating chart.
On the second day of class, the science teacher, Ludwig J. Fesi, asked for volunteers. Barry and I raised our hands.
He said, “meet us in the gym this Saturday at 9AM. We’re going to help out at Misericordia.”
We had no idea what Misericordia was. We had no idea what we were volunteering for. But we showed up at 9.
Barry went on to become a high school science teacher and a distinguished principal.
This is what this place meant to me, and still does.
A place of muscular Catholicism.
A place where we raise our hands, and show up, and take action.
A place of social justice. A place that creates Catholic workers and sends them out to make things better. For everyone.
So I thank you for this honor, and I look forward to seeing decades of new Catholic workers acting on our form of muscular Catholicism on the north side of Chicago.