Morristown, N.J. (August 24, 2016) – The time-honored tradition of a college convocation allows faculty, students, and staff to come together in one place to formally begin the academic year and celebrate the old with the new. The 2016-2017 Academic Convocation was held in Dolan Performance Hall in Annunciation Center on Monday, August 22, 2016, and was marked by a few noticeable changes.
This year, for the first time, the senior class was included in the processional with all wearing graduation caps and gowns. As the Class of 2017 marched in, they were welcomed by the faculty with an ovation.
The master of ceremonies, Dr. Monique Guillory, vice president of academic affairs, welcomed the gathering.
"Convocation is an historic annual tradition to commemorate the start of the academic year," she said. "But today, it is not only the start of a new year, but the start of a new era. We welcome the class of 2020, and in particular, our inaugural cohort of undergraduate men. Today we continue the realization of our mission through all of our programs and offerings which are now available to both men and women."
Dr. Helen J. Streubert, president of CSE, offered a metaphoric comparison of CSE students to the U.S.A. Olympic athletes.
"As an Olympian, you must endure long hours of practice, learn new techniques, redirect your efforts and make endless refinements of the smallest movements," she said. "They believe that what they do is important. They believe that their efforts contribute to a better sport, to a better country, to the better person that they become as a result of effort and focus."
Dr. Streubert continued the analogy with the thoughts that not all the athletes grew up under ideal circumstances, but they all had dreams and surrounded themselves with people to support their goals.
"Regardless of how you see yourself," Dr. Streubert noted. "You have a right to success. Together, we will achieve your dreams."
Anne Buison Pellizzon, assistant professor of graduate nutrition, represented the faculty in welcoming the new students to the College.
"Students, I encourage you to be curious and be open-minded!" she offered. "Ask questions, and strive to find answers to those questions. Get to know your faculty! Be active in your courses, and don't be afraid to ask for help. We are teachers and scholars who want to give you guidance to help you be your best."
Rachel Romer, president of the student government association, and Kiana Cunningham, representing the Class of 2017, offered thoughts from the students' point of view. Both noted that their respective experiences at CSE have been memorable and said that the faculty support has given them the confidence to go a step further in achieving success.
The guest speaker was Aracely Tagliaventi, '10, who is currently an attorney in Columbus, Ohio.
"Although the College is evolving, I take great pride in knowing that its commitment to empowering students through education has not changed," she said.
She spoke about facing an early morning class in which she was very apprehensive about the content. As a first-generation college student she was afraid of failing. But she stayed, pushing herself beyond her comfort zone and passing the course.
"I share that story to encourage you to try new things," she counseled the students. "Pushing myself to stay in that class inspired me to take other risks throughout my college tenure. Don't become complacent with the familiar and take this time to figure out what impact you want to make on society."
Dr. Guillory announced that honors cords would be given to all students who had achieved Deans' List for both semesters in the 2015-2016 academic year. Those students received blue cords, while students who maintained a 4.0 GPA received blue and gold cords.
Another first for this 2016-2017 Convocation was the reciting of the newly adopted CSE Oath by all in attendance.
On this day, I recommit my life to the embodiment of my highest self.
In this hour, I will put forth my best effort to reflect excellence in my words, deeds, and endeavors.
In this moment, I express gratitude for every experience before me:
the choice to learn and expand my understanding;
the choice to serve and lead;
the choice to recognize human dignity by respecting everyone and myself;
the choice to love,
and the opportunity to use the gifts I have been given.
To empower myself and my community, enrich the lives of others
And change the world;
On this day, and for every day to come.
Following the ceremony, a picnic was held for all students, faculty, and staff to continue the sense of community that began to grow during the 2016-2017 Convocation.