James J. Grogan Sr. has been selected as the student speaker for La Salle University’s graduate Commencement ceremony on Friday, May 18, 2012. This year marks the first year La Salle will have a separate Commencement ceremony for its doctoral and master’s degree graduates. Although Grogan’s speech will be considered historical, it continues La Salle’s tradition to have a student, chosen by faculty and staff, deliver a Commencement address.
When Grogan, who is receiving his master’s degree in theology and ministry, learned about the student speaker selection process, he was intrigued. He first submitted a written speech and was chosen as one of the finalists to deliver his speech to the faculty and staff selection committee.
“While I am used to doing presentations and speaking in front of groups around the world for my job, this is a different style of delivery and it brings a heightened sense of pressure,” Grogan said. “With my speech, I hope I can deliver a message that will resonate with the other graduates and their families.”
Grogan said he was humbled when he learned he was selected as the graduate student speaker. “While I was waiting to deliver my speech (to the selection committee) I was able to hear some of the other students’ speeches, and having heard theirs, I thought to myself, ‘I would pick theirs,’” he said.
Grogan, a resident of Mount Laurel, N.J., is a senior director with SunGard Availability Services’ marketing group in Philadelphia. Unlike most students who pursue a graduate degree for professional advancement, Grogan, already with a master’s degree under his belt, enrolled in La Salle’s Theology and Ministry program to further his vocation as an ordained permanent deacon.
“My graduate work at La Salle is completely unrelated to my professional career,” Grogan said. “For me, there is a difference between my career and my vocation. I started at La Salle to augment my pastoral ministry, where in addition to assisting at liturgies, I offer retreat programs that guide adults in their development of deeper prayer lives. My coursework and research have been extremely useful and timely as I can apply it directly to my diaconate ministry.”
Grogan, who serves as a deacon at Our Lady of Good Counsel in Moorestown, N.J., has focused much of his research on adult prayer and the spiritual journey and preparation for hospice care. For his independent study, he authored “Faith, Hope and Love: Spiritual Healing at the Center of the Hospice Experience.” His research is inspired by his own experience of dealing with his wife Ellie’s care while fighting and ultimately succumbing to ovarian cancer.
Grogan is the father to three sons; his youngest son, Thomas, has completed his freshman year at La Salle.