Montevallo, Ala. – Christopher Nanni delivered the keynote address to the fall graduates of the University of Montevallo, encouraging the students to keep their eyes open for opportunities to help others and learn to align their decisions with what they feel is most meaningful.
The University of Montevallo celebrated the accomplishments of over 200 undergraduate and graduate students on Friday in the McChesney Student Activities Center on the University campus.
Nanni, the President and CEO of the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, has dedicated his entire professional career to the nonprofit sector. The Foundation has been an instrumental member of the development of the Montevallo community, giving nearly $1 million in grants in recent years.
A Notre Dame graduate, Nanni described leaving his own commencement ceremony with a desire to better understand the human condition and immediately began dedicating his time to work on behalf of the marginalized.
Nanni has served on the front line with organizations in Portland, Ore., Orlando, Fla., a village in the Dominican Republic, and Chicago, Ill., where he served as associate principal for the nation’s first Cristo Rey Jesuit High School.
Upon describing his experiences, Nanni urged graduates to consciously find ways to help others as they crossed over from college students to graduated professionals.
“Making a difference includes acting on it,” Nanni told the crowd. “Allow yourself to have your eyes opened, as anything other than opening your eyes and acting on what you believe in only promotes injustice.”