Sasse Addresses ‘Crisis of Loneliness’ at Grove City College

GROVE CITY, Pa. — During his address at the 139th commencement at Grove City College, U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse discussed how institutions like the college help create community.

The 511 graduates are living in a “disrupted moment” in history, the Republican senator from Nebraska told those gathered. It’s driven largely by technology that creates enormous opportunity and wealth and frees people from the constraints of time and place and routine that are often seen as obstacles.

“We are so rich and we can skim across the surface of life without roots,” Sasse said.

However, those roots are important to happiness and can be the key to combating the “crisis of loneliness” that’s plaguing society and “literally killing Americans in the prime of their lives,” he said.

“This is a really important, gritty place and you’ve shared this place with people … You’ve had roots here over the last four years,” Sasse said of Grove City College.

Sasse cited faith as “the ultimate answer to rootlessness,” and a source of happiness that provides “a fellowship across time and space.”

Paul J. McNulty, president of Grove City College, said some question the value of a traditional liberal arts education and the kind of Christ-centered experience at Grove City. The central issue, he said, is if a four-year private education is worth the cost.

“Is it a smart investment? Well, the answer to that question, if you are talking about Grove City College, is yes,” McNulty said. “Absolutely. The value of an education here is beyond measure. Because the focus is on eternal truth not simple temporal opportunities. Let us press on to the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

McNulty told the graduates it was a privilege to “live and learn with you for four years,” and the purpose of the education was “to open your mind and your heart to ‘the treasures of knowledge and wisdom,’ in the words of the apostle Paul,” he said.

Grove City College graduated 511 at its commencement May 18.

The college awarded 137 Bachelor of Arts degrees, 312 Bachelor of Science degrees, 36 Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering degrees, 19 Bachelor of Electrical Engineering degrees and seven Bachelor of Music degrees. Of the graduates, 41% graduated with cum laude, magna cum laude or summa cum laude honors.

Sasse and the Rev. Rufus Smith IV, senior pastor of Hope Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Memphis, Tenn., received honorary degrees recognizing their contributions to their fields of endeavor and society. Sasse collected a doctor of human letters degree and Smith a doctor of divinity degree.

According to a release from the college, it has a 79% graduation rate, 20 points higher than the national average. The private Christian liberal arts college provides need-based financial aid without support of the federal government and 42% of alumni graduate debt-free, according to the release.

Based on past years, up to 96% of graduates will have jobs or be in graduate school within six months. The average starting salary for alumni is $53,500 and the 20-year net return on investment of a Grove City College education is nearly $400,000, according to PayScale.

Pictured above: U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse addresses graduates at the 2019 commencement at Grove City College.

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