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May 20, 2024

In final commencement speech at Cabrini University, Kylie Kelce tells graduates their 'home still exists'

The alum – and wife of former Eagle Jason Kelce – recalled her time at the school, which is closing after 67 years. Villanova University is taking over its campus.

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Cabrini University Kelce Cabrini University/Flickr

Cabrini University held its final graduation ceremony on Sunday, May 19, with Kylie Kelce serving as its commencement speaker. The school announced plans to shutter last year; Villanova University has acquired its campus.

Kylie Kelce, wife of former Philadelphia Eagle Jason Kelce, delivered the commencement speech Sunday to the final graduating class at Cabrini University. 

Last summer, the Main Line college revealed its plans to close following the conclusion of the 2023-2024 academic year. Villanova University has purchased the Cabrini's campus, and has said it will maintain the Cabrini name around the campus in Radnor Township, Delaware County.

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Kelce noted the former Eagles center in her speech on Sunday, warning listeners that she wasn't quite as well-known for her public speaking. 

"My husband, Jason Kelce, is known for giving some pretty earth-shattering speeches," Kelce said. "He did not help me in writing my words today, so you can go ahead and lower those expectations."

Cabrini opted to close following years of financial challenges. The university had been running on a deficit since 2013, and tried cutting degree programs in 2021 to lower its operating costs. In addition to preserving the name, two Cabrini University representatives will serve on Villanova's board for up to five years. 

Kelce graduated from Cabrini in 2017 with a bachelor of arts in communications. She played field hockey for the Cabrini Cavaliers, competing in the NCAA Division III tournament and was named the Colonial States Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year. 

In her speech, she spoke of transferring from Montgomery County Community College and starting at Cabrini as a 21-year-old freshman. She recalled a time when a friend stood on her shoulders to steal one of the Cabrini College flags that hung on the light posts — a public safety officer passing by asked if they needed a hand (Cabrini was set to take the flags down the following week when it changed its name to Cabrini University). 

As a transfer student and someone whose life changed tremendously after graduating, Kelce said was OK to embrace uncertainty. 

"Everyone's first question after graduation is, 'What's next?'" Kelce said. "'I don't know' can be an honest and sufficient answer. The truth is that no one has their lives completely figured out, and if someone tells you otherwise, they are lying." 

Villanova has yet to detail its plans for the campus, but the university has announced plans for a Cabrini Scholars scholarship program in conjunction with an existing program at Cabrini High School in New Orleans.

In closing, Kelce noted Cabrini's alumni network is still available to students even after the closure, and that the Cabrini community will support its final class of graduates. 

"This was home, and this was where you found your extended family," she said. "In the next few months as the sign at the front entrance no longer reads Cabrini, and a new school moves in, know that your home still exists."