Where am I?

Welcome Remarks

Welcome remarks for Joseph B. McGlynn Jr., board chair, introducing Dr. Patricia Wolff.

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. It is my honor to welcome you to the spring 2012 commencement ceremony at Fontbonne University.

This morning, we honor the efforts and accomplishments of the graduates here before us. Together with their families and friends, we usher them into the next phase of their lives, and we recognize a class educated in the Fontbonne tradition — leaders prepared to serve a world in need. Our distinguished guest speaker, Dr. Patricia Wolff,  is one such leader, a woman who lives out the very values of Fontbonne University and its founders, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet.

Dr. Wolff earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of Minnesota, where she also graduated from medical school. For the past 40 years, she has served the community as both a pediatrician and a professor at Washington University School of Medicine. Dr. Wolff has devoted her career — and her life — to children. She has served in hospitals and medical practices in St. Louis, and she’s volunteered extensively in Haiti, a nation plagued by poverty.

During her travels to Haiti, Dr. Wolff grew frustrated as she watched malnourished children needlessly die. A colleague at Washington University, Dr. Mark Manary, introduced her to Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Foods. Dr. Manary was using these highly nutritious, peanut-based foods to effectively treat malnourished children in Africa. Dr. Wolff saw an opportunity to create Meds and Foods for Kids, a nonprofit organization that produces a Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food called Medika Momba.

Dr. Wolff's work has captured national and international attention, as well as endorsements by the World Health Organization and UNICEF. Not only does Meds and Foods for Kids treat malnourished children, but it alleviates the poverty and hunger so prevalent within Haiti. It creates jobs by hiring local workers. It trains and educates employees. And it encourages local agricultural production and growth.

Today, Dr. Wolff maintains her roles as pediatrician, professor and humanitarian. She travels extensively to Haiti, where Meds and Foods for Kids has begun building a new, larger and more efficient factory. More than ever, she and her team remain committed to Haiti's long-term development — and the health and well being of its children.

We are honored to have Dr. Patricia Wolff with us today. Please join me in giving her a warm Fontbonne welcome.