Savannah Mul – Opinion Editor–
The heavy afternoon rain didn’t keep students, faculty and guests away from attending Dr. Mary A. Papazian’s inauguration as Southern Connecticut State University’s 11th president, said Lewis J. Robinson Jr. the chairman on the Board of Regents for Higher Education.
“It may be raining outside,” Robinson said, “but here we have plenty of sunshine.” Robinson introduced Dr. Papazian, the newest president within the State University System, last Friday at the Lyman Center for Performing Arts. She is the second woman to become president at Southern, following Cheryl J. Norton, who served from 2004 to 2010, said Joe Musante from Southern’s Public Affairs Office.
The inauguration started with a procession of faculty, and invited students.
“It was a big honor to be a student delegate walking in the procession,” said Marcus D’Lorio, a junior history and second education major at Southern. “It really shows how students can be connected within the university and their own education.”
D’Lorio is a student worker at the office of Student Life and being involved in the inauguration said, “Southern does feel at home and during the ceremony I really felt Southern’s family aspect altogether.”
During Robinson’s speech he said, “This campus will thrive under Dr. Papazian, and will have a better future for the state of Connecticut.”
Erin McGuckin, an undergraduate student representing the student body, said welcoming our new president will bring a new chapter to Southern’s rich 120-year history.
“She is sure to invigorate the campus community in the months and years to come,” McGuckin said; and in the short time of knowing her, Papazian fosters an environment where students will achieve academically, as well as encourage them to take their place in being part of the university community.
Many of the speakers that took part in the inauguration ceremony was: Hamden Mayor Scott P. Jackson, New Haven Mayor John DeStefano, Congresswoman from the third district of Conn. Rosa DeLauro, the Vice President for State Universities and Eastern’s President Elsa M. Nunez and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman.
Arthur C. Paulson representing the faculty senate of Southern’s community said, “We are very happy and honored that you’ve chose us.”
Dr. Papazian’s first remark from her inaugural address, “Wow, that was quite the ceremony,” as she then thanked and welcomed everyone who was in attendance.
“I am truly honored to be the 11th president of Southern Connecticut State University, an energetic, notable institution with strong values and traditions,” said Papazian.
Papazian concluded her speech with insight to her management style, “This I pledge: I will have an open administration. I will provide equitable treatment for all, and I will fulfill without fail all official and unofficial responsibilities. My administration will be evenhanded and predictable.”
At the end of the ceremony, Robinson introduced to the audience a student video that was made to “Welcome Home” Dr. President Papazian. The video highlighted different parts of the Southern Community with students and teachers holding up welcome signs in various places on campus. It was accompanied with music from Phillip Phillip, song titled: Home.
Mary Vaughn, a Southern Alumni and member of the Alumni Board of directors said, “I thought the video was awesome. It was very touching, appreciative and a personal welcome from the students to the new president.”
“I have a great feeling that Papazian will be a successful president to the university,” Vaughn said. “She’ll go above and beyond and she is capable of thinking outside the box, which is what we need in today’s changing society.”
Professor of World Language and Literature Luisa Piemontese of Southern said she is more than excited to have her on board in the community.
“I like her visions and how she includes other cultures as well,” Piemontese said. “She wants to enrich the community locally and nationwide.” Papazian plans to reach out and attract international and out-of-state students, in hopes of enriching the experiences of Connecticut students.
Graduate student Alex Gil majoring in recreational administration said she is happy the governing body of Southern is stable now and isn’t as transit as it was within the last school year with past President Battle.
“It’s a nice closure that I know I’m leaving Southern behind in good hands,” Gil said. “All the ideals and values that I gained here, will be now successfully followed through with Dr. Papazian and new students entering.”