Today: Jun 17, 2024

Convocation welcomes new students

Ali Fernand – Managing Editor

The new first-year students at the university have begun. Faculty senate and select seniors gave an official welcome at Convocation, led by new Interim President Dwayne Smith.  

The attendees were packed into the Lyman Center, and students watched as their official welcome kicked off the year. Both freshman and transfer students were acknowledged at this ceremony.  

“Most of you are becoming a college student for the first time and we couldn’t be more pleased to share this moment with you and also with our new transfer students who’ve chosen Southern to continue your collegiate journey,” said the Vice President of Student Affairs, Tracy Tyree. 

The faculty sat up on the stage, they each wore a cap and gown to formally welcome the students. The stage was filled from front to back with university faculty and students.  

The speakers offered words of encouragement to the new students entering their education at the university. They told stories of their own experiences and the value of the people they met.  

“We all want to see you flourish and excel here, and through this ceremony, we are lighting the way for you to do that,” said Interim President, Dwayne Smith.  

Faculty advised students to take advantage of opportunities on campus. This included mentioning opportunities and resources available to them.  

“Our faculty are a vibrant talented group of teaching faculty library faculty counseling faculty coaches and athletic trainers,” said Faculty Senate President, Natalie Starling.   

Upperclassmen also offered their words of advice. They were once first-year students and have navigated their way through the university. In this way, they can give a taste of what students find fulfilling on campus.  

“Whether that be the faculty, staff or study, step outside of your comfort zone and spread your wings, join an academic club, check out great place, celebrate diversity,” said the Class of 2024 President, Britny Gildersleeve.  

Gildersleeve talked about the value she has found in her university education. She ensured that students would have a fulfilling time if they put in the right energy.  

“As a senior I know that all your effort that put into your college experience will come back to you and reward you twice over,” said Gildersleeve.  

The speakers also gave words of encouragement to ease the worries that there will be hardships. They acknowledged the hardships but ensured that students would be able to continue through them.  

The path will sometimes be easy and inviting, sometimes the path will be fraught with challenges, or the path will just go sideways like the pandemic showed us,” said Starling.   

Diversity was a topic that was brought up to the students. First-year students were told the vast walks of life that their classmates come from. This included a variety of towns, cities, states, and countries.  

“We have some international students from Ukraine, Jamaica, and Nigeria, as well as the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico,” said Smith.   

With this ceremony, the new students on campus had their official welcome to the community. Faculty, staff, and students gave them all an idea of what this university is about.  

“On behalf of the senior class, it is my pleasure to formally welcome you to Southern Connecticut State University,” said Gildersleeve. 

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