Morristown, N.J. (August 20, 2015) – Entering Dolan Hall to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, the administration and faculty, dressed in full academic regalia, formally welcomed students to the new academic year during the Convocation ceremony on August 19, 2015.
This joyous occasion marked the beginning of the 116th year of the college and the last year of a single-sex women's college as men will be admitted to the daytime, undergraduate program in the fall of 2016.
The new vice president of academic affairs, Dr. Monique Guillory-Winfield, welcomed the gathering by explaining why convocation involves the faculty wearing their regalia. "We want you to see that the faculty is committed to giving you their very best and dedicated to you as students," she offered. "Learn, study, have some fun, and begin to develop your network, because your future not only depends on what you know, but also who you know. Ask much of yourself and the faculty; our expectations are high, so be ready."
Dr. Helen J. Streubert, president of the college, enthusiastically welcomed the students to the community. She explained the concept of a catholic education that encompasses diversity, commitment to learning, and service to community. She emphasized the dedication of the faculty and staff to the well-being of each student on campus and spoke of the many alumnae who have achieved great things in their fields. "Show up, do your best, and most importantly, love yourself and others," Dr. Streubert advised.
Shannon Hoffman '16, president of the student government association, invited the students to participate in campus life. "This is a welcoming community," she advised. "Many will encourage you towards your success. Get involved and take advantage of what CSE has to offer. Remember L.I.F.E.; lead, inspire, focus, and excel."
The keynote speech titled "New Beginnings" was delivered by Lynn Burek M.A. '05. Burek is the first lay principal of the Academy of Saint Elizabeth. She was able to identify with her audience as not only an educator, but as a student and a parent who has sent her child off to college.
"This journey will be joyful, but not without its trials," she said. "You will need to learn balance, time management, and priority setting. But the good news is that you will be ready to face the world once you leave the College of Saint Elizabeth."
Monsignor Thomas J. McDade offered a benediction in which all who were present in the performance hall raised their hands in blessing over the students. It was a powerful moment in which a collective aura of support and commitment presided over the new students.
Alexis Lerner '18 led the audience in "God Bless America" and the "Alma Mater". The recessional was a waltz by Chopin. In spite of the threatening skies of rain and thunderstorms, it was a lively and inspirational way to welcome the class of 2019.