Opening Convocation welcomes Class of 2018, marks beginning of academic year at Centre
The campus community assembled for Centre College’s Opening Convocation on Sunday, August 31 to celebrate the official start of the 2014-2015 academic year.
The Convocation formally welcomed the 387 members of the first-year class, an impressive group of exceedingly bright, motivated students representing 36 states and four countries. The Class of 2018 is the largest incoming class in Centre’s history, setting records for size, quality, geographic reach and diversity. Centre begins classes with an enrollment of nearly 1,400 students, also the largest in College history.
Ten transfer students and 14 new full-time faculty members were also welcomed.
Two faculty speakers delivered messages to the incoming class, Professor of Chemistry Jennifer Muzyka and Gordon B. Davidson Associate Professor of History Amos Tubb.
Both speakers emphasized the crucial importance of developing effective writing skills. Muzyka (pictured right) assured the incoming class that Centre would challenge them to become better writers.
“Educated citizens are those who effectively communicate their ideas in writing,” she said. “Your four years at Centre will help you develop into talented writers who persuade readers with informative arguments.”
Muzyka also urged students to be aware of their own learning as they prepare to embark on “learning journeys.”
“The faculty members at Centre are here because we love learning,” she said. “We are eager to share our love of learning with you.”
Tubb (pictured below) drew on his vast knowledge of history and flair as a lecturer to prove that college essays can indeed change the world. Using the historical examples of British abolitionist Thomas Clarkson as well as Supreme Court justice and Centre alumnus John Marshall Harlan, Tubb extolled the merits of writing essays on topics in which students may not have an initial interest.
“Clarkson hadn’t really thought about slavery before, and never would have learned anything about it if he hadn’t been forced to write an essay on it,” explained Tubb.
He encouraged students to be open to exploring as many subjects as possible.
“By doing so, you’ll have a chance, as Clarkson and Harlan did, to learn about the injustices and problems in your world, and what you are able to do about them.
“It is only by educating yourself about the world you don’t know about that you are most likely to find out what your role should be in it.”
Thomas Becker’15, Student Government Association president from Newark, Del., gave the charge to the Class of 2018 and presented a quote from Winston Churchill as their chosen motto: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
Class mottos are engraved on a plaque that hangs in the Grace Doherty Library.
Fall term classes at Centre begin today, Monday, September 1.
Read Jennifer Muzyka’s remarks, “Living an Adventure and Learning on the Journey.”
Read Amos Tubb’s remarks, “A College Essay.”
by Caitlan Cole