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Seton Hall University

Matthew W. Wright, Commencement Address for Class of 2017  

Commencement Speaker Matthew W. Wright '89

Commencement Speaker Matthew W. Wright '89 

When Seton Hall celebrated its 160th baccalaureate commencement at PNC Bank Arts Center, graduating its largest class in the University’s history, Matthew W. Wright ‘89 delivered the Commencement Address.

Wright is the founder and president of Disciplina Group LLC, which includes Disciplina Advisors, a risk consultancy firm, and Disciplina Capital Management, an investment advisory firm. Prior to founding the Disciplina Group, he served as vice chancellor for investments and chief investment officer of Vanderbilt University, the first African American to hold this title at a university with more than a billion dollar endowment. Mr. Wright received a Bachelor of Science in Business with a major in finance from Seton Hall and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Rochester.

Noting that the Class of 2017 was about to, as college graduates, “share in the distinction held by only 30% of the American population,” he told the new graduates:

With this degree, you now have a winning ticket that will open opportunities for you to combine your gifts, talents, energy, passion in pursuit of bringing forth a change and everlasting legacy that you were uniquely created to fulfill. I personally considered my graduation day as official launch into adulthood, evidenced by admission to graduate school then ultimately starting a career in finance two years later. Others especially parents would define it as a pathway for financial independence for their children, better known as getting them off the payroll. Of course, you get a degree so that you can get a job, and you get a job so you can earn income. Many share this common belief. In fact, seven out of ten people in the U.S. share this view.

I personally followed this path assumed by many which entailed moving from position to position, via promotions and referrals which lead to more responsibilities and compensation. But ultimately I realized that my graduation day was not the lift off to earning an income or self-sufficiency, but instead the completion of the preparation phase for uncovering my ultimate purpose. Over the past four years, your educational experiences have hopefully instilled a sense of faith, community, intellectual challenge, refinement and awakened new interest. All are critical components in preparation for the divine purpose uniquely placed within each one of us by our creator. 

As you go forward I challenge each of you to engage in the world in meaningful ways that will aid you in the discovery of your purpose. Take a mission trip, volunteer, travel, reflect and debate on current events, partake of other cultures. As you invest in these things, and help others around you reach their goals and find their purpose, your own purpose will be revealed. While on your journey never lose sight of your relationships both old and new. Some will be situational, for a season, and others for a lifetime. Nevertheless, key relationships on the path to finding your purpose. 

When you ultimately find your purpose and operate within it you will have a sense of peace, and fulfillment that can never be measured in dollars and cents, along with a rewarding sense of accomplishment that your daily efforts are serving a greater good and meeting a higher calling. Once you find your ultimate purpose basic questions like "what do you do?" OR "who do you work for?" will give you pause as they may not capture the depth of your true purpose.  

I heard a story about three laborers, who were making bricks. They each were combining sand, straw and clay to form bricks. The first was asked what are you doing. He wryly stated, I am mixing sand, straw and clay. The second was asked the same and said I am making bricks. The third joyfully said I am helping to create a house of worship for the Lord. Although each of them shared the same task, the third had contextualized his purpose in life which was evident from his joyful response. When you ultimately find your purpose you will operate in peace and joy versus toil, strife and frustration. 

Read the full Commencement Address of Matthew Wright.

Categories: Alumni , Education

For more information, please contact:

  • Michael Ricciardelli
  • (973) 378-9845
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