Convocation Ceremony Formally Welcomes Class of 2015
Laura Caporaletti, Tower Staff
September 16, 2011
Filed under News
Freshman students gathered together at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on Wednesday, September 14 for their Class of 2015 Convocation. All freshman students were excused from their 4:10 pm classes in order to hear remarks from President John Garvey, Provost James Brennan, and members of the administration and faculty welcoming all to the University.
For many freshmen, Convocation was an event that they had been looking forward to since arriving in August.
“I had read about Freshman Convocation on the CUA website before coming to school,” said freshman psychology major Brian Clark, “and I thought it looked really cool for all of the freshman class to get together in one spot like that. It looks like a really big event and I’m especially looking forward to hearing President Garvey speak.”
Garvey did indeed address the Class of 2015, but not without some warm welcomes from the Dean of Undergraduate Studies, Michael Mack, and Provost Brennan first. Mack described Convocation as an event which “represents the beginning of a new chapter in your life”. He praised those who made the ceremony so beautiful, taking special time to thank The Catholic University of America Women’s Choir, comprised entirely of freshmen.
Brennan was next to speak, and as he looked out on the newest members of the University family, he reminded them that they didn’t just choose CUA as the school for their undergraduate studies, CUA chose them as well. He described these next four years as a “two-way relationship”; one in which both the individual and the University will benefit from.
Garvey approached the podium next, beginning his own address to the freshman class with: “The Catholic University is a wonderful place to study.” He explained to students that CUA is unique in that they “will have a special opportunity to learn about Christian intellectuals” allowing them to grow in both reason and faith over these next four years. In light of Homer’s The Odyssey, which all freshman students were required to read this past summer, Garvey stated that “college is an adventure, with its own set of trials and monsters.” He concluded by giving sound advice for the challenges that lie ahead as he told the freshman students, “Don’t quit, work hard, and pray every day.”
Daniel Gibbons, Clinical Assistant Professor of English and Director of Undergraduate Studies in English, was then called upon to give his address to this year’s freshman class entitled, “An Invitation to the Hermetic Mind”. His address revolved around a particular scene from The Odyssey in which the main character, Odysseus, was distracted by the god Hermes, ultimately leading him to a victory over the goddess-witch Circe. Gibbons acknowledged the fact that the freshman class may have seen The Odyssey as just a distraction; they probably often wondered, “Can Homer really tell us anything about the world we live in today?” He pointed out, however, that The Odyssey teaches its readers that distractions or interruptions can be good sometimes as, “Hermes’ interruption turned rashness into true heroism.” He urged students to take advantage of all of the opportunities throughout the next four years, including the opportunities for the right kind of distractions. As he so aptly put, an invitation is all you are guaranteed and, “it’s entirely up to you to accept the invitation and to cultivate the gifts you receive.” He ended his address with the simple advice to “listen to Hermes when he calls”, for it would be a shame to miss the invitation to be distracted in ways which will help you become the person you want to be.
Afterwards, the Class of 2015 made their way to the front entrance of the Shrine to receive their pins and chat with the Academic Deans. Peter Kelly, a freshman Exploratory major said, “My favorite part of Freshman Convocation was Dr. Gibbon’ speech. I found it both enlightening and soothing.” Most students found it to be an event that they will truly hold on to for the years ahead as Aubrey Vollmouth, a freshman International Business major stated, “It was a memorable experience. I will definitely use their advice throughout my four years here.”