New Student Convocation welcomes Class of 2019

Edgar Ayala – General Assignment Reporter

One by one, first-year students crowded Southern Connecticut’s John Lyman Center Friday afternoon for the chance to meet and listen to students, staff and faculty speak behalf on New Student Convocation.    

As over 1,400 incoming freshman began to fill the auditorium, students and staff greeted the class of 2019 as they made their way into Lyman.  

Once seated, the stage lights began directing their attention towards the right hand side of the auditorium where Southern’s President Mary Papazian, Dean of Student Affairs Jules Tetreault and other faculty members made their way up the stage.  


President Papazian speaking onstage during Freshman Convocation. Photo Credit, Tyler Korponai

“It is amazing to see this room full of so much energy and enthusiasm,” said President Papazian in her opening statement.

“I must say that this is a very large freshman class and when you add the transfer students as well, we are bringing tremendous talent to this University.”

Senior Brenda Whittingham, president of the class of 2019, welcomed the new class to SCSU, but also encouraged them to get involved into the Southern community quicker rather than later.  

The diversity of Southern has led Whittingham to conclude that that “there is something here for everyone.”

“I urge you to get involved in the student life at Southern,” she said.  “You can all join an academic club, a fraternity or sorority.  Some of you will participate in intercollegiate athletics or be involved in the performing arts.  I promise you that there something here for you.”  

As the ceremony progressed, faculty continued to address the importance of joining the Southern community.  

Then came the “Torch of Knowledge.”

A student lighting a candle during the "Torch of Knowledge."

A student lighting a candle during the “Torch of Knowledge.” Photo Credit, Tyler Korponai

The “Torch of Knowledge” has ben a tradition at Southern where at every Freshman Convocation, selective students are chosen to participate in the lighting a flaming candle in hopes that it will give them the success they need at Southern for a brighter future.  

“From the earliest of times the flaming torch has been the symbol of knowledge,” said Kalie Menders, President of Student Government Association.

“It is our symbol for learning at Southern as we expand our horizon, gain insights into understanding our world and prepare to take our places in society four years from now.

One of the six students that were selected for the tradition of the flaming torch was Rasheed Pierre, a communications major from Bronx, N.Y.

Pierre, who was the first of the six to light the flame, made a pledge to SCSU while making and a resolution of commitment.   

“As members of the SCSU community, we the class of 2019, pledge to hold ourselves to the highest standard of performance as you pursue excellence in all aspects of the University’s life,” he said.  “Especially in the areas of academic enquiry, scholarship, athletics, fine and performing arts and in service.”

All six of the selected students read their resolutions out load to their class, in order to make a pledge for their commitment to SCSU.

Closing the ceremony was President Papazian, with strong statements about the University growth and development over the last year.  

Reiterating the newly built 103,608 square feet, four level science building, as well as the newly renovated Buley Library with Starbucks café soon to be opened.   

Papazian also made remarks about the new and improved network the University has to offer, which according to Papazian means that the network won’t go down when it’s time to register again.

The class of 2019 being the first to enjoy the full experience of the new improvements on campus.

After the event, students gathered on the back lawn of Engleman Hall for food, drinks and a chance to interact with their new colleagues.  

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Photo Credit: Tyler Korponai – Photo Editor

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