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A day to be with others

Comillas pays tribute to its university community on the feast of Saint Thomas Aquinas with a ceremony presided over by the rector


26 January 2024

Once again this year, Comillas Pontifical University wished to honour and highlight the work of all its members on University Community Day, celebrated on the eve of Saint Thomas Aquinas. Comillas recognised new doctors, lecturers and researchers, retired personnel, those with 25 and 40 years of service, and students with extraordinary awards for the end of their bachelor's and master's degrees, in an emotional and well-attended ceremony.

The day began with a Eucharist presided over by Mons. Bernardito Cleopas Auza, Apostolic Nuncio. The academic ceremony, presided over by the rector of the university, Enrique Sanz, SJ, began with the investiture of the 40 new doctors and the awarding of prizes for the best theses in each of the areas and the XXV José M.ª Ramón de San Pedro Prize for the best thesis of the Faculty of Theology, which went to María Rosa Ruiz, who also received the award as the new doctor of the doctoral programme in Theology and was awarded the extraordinary prize for the Master's in Palliative Care.

The new doctor spoke on behalf of her colleagues. "Knowledge goes far beyond the accumulation of data to bring meaning and order to all that exists. That is why it can only be global, diverse and universal, i.e. university-based," she said. "It will be as necessary to study and research with rigour about telecommunications and business as it is to reflect on migrations or the family", she concluded.

A life dedicated to Comillas

Next, the new lecturers and researchers, a total of 16, took the stage to collect their medals. The last to be honoured were the members of the PAS and PDI who have reached 25 years of service, and those who have reached retirement age, a recognition that came after the projection of a video with testimonies from some of the participants in the event.

Cristina Gortázar, a lecturer at the Faculty of Law (Comillas ICADE), who is retiring after a long professional life dedicated to research and teaching at the university, spoke on behalf of her colleagues. "My life cannot be explained without Comillas", she said, visibly moved. "This new stage involves many changes, the biggest of which is psychological. I hope to find the peace of mind of a job well done and the free time to enjoy and learn what we could not because of our professional careers", she said. In conclusion, she added: "We are what we have done and what we continue to do in trying to be better people for others."

Recognition, love and gratitude

The event concluded with a speech by the Rector, who recalled that we live our time "together". "Our celebration today reminds us that we are temporal beings in close relationship with one another; that we are beings united by combining our past, our present and our future; that we are people who do not live our time in a partial, divided or segmented way, but rather in a profoundly united way".

During his speech, in which he mentioned the book of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the Rector assured that the university is a place of intergenerational encounter. "The term university means that a universe or a totality of knowledge is learned there," he said. "Gathering together in an event like today's means 'being a place of meeting and life for people from very different generations'," he said.

Finally, he spoke of the connection between recognition, love and gratitude. "Love can lead us to gratitude. Whoever acknowledges and loves with gratitude does not take credit for anything; he or she affirms that in our freedom we love because we recognise God's love in our lives".

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