I Believe in the Sun

“I believe in the sun even when it’s not shining. I believe in love even when I don’t feel it. I believe in God even when He is silent.” Those lines, scratched on a cellar wall of a hiding place in Poland, opened the moving address by Meg VanderLaan ’89, the speaker for Gannon’s 2014 Winter Commencement.

More than 200 graduates, almost half of them receiving doctoral or master’s degrees, heard an inspiring message of perseverance and vision from the member of the Gannon Board of Trustees and chief communications officer of MWH Global, Inc., a worldwide engineering firm headquartered in Denver.

Twenty-five years earlier, VanderLaan was herself a newly minted Gannon graduate. Her message had a special poignancy on the occasion of another anniversary— the 70th of the authorization by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania allowing Gannon to grant four-year bachelor’s degrees for the first time.

The nameless poet in the depths of World War II might have written those lines at about the same time. We’ll never know, but VanderLaan’s closing exhortation provided the graduates with the same message of hope and faith.

“Believe in the sun. Believe in love, and believe in God. Believe in the person you were called to be so that you can change the world.”

Recent graduates reflect on their experience at Gannon.