Catawba's Opening Convocation Includes Pomp, Music, Sage Advice and Humor
August 26, 2010
Elements representing the best of Catawba College were present when the institution officially convened for the 2010-2011 academic year on Thursday, August 26. The opening convocation ceremony took place in Omwake Dearborn Chapel and most of the campus attended.
Faculty donned academic regalia and seniors, members of the Class of 2011, tried out their caps and gowns for the first time. A 70-member choir of enthusiastic singers performed musical selections under the direction of Professor Paul E. Oakley, artist-in-residence in music and college organist, including a heartfelt African American spiritual, "Ain't Got Time to Die." The leadership of the college shared sage advice, including Dr. Craig Turner, president; Dr. Rick Stephens, provost; Paul Fisher, chair of the Board of Trustees; and Kendra Joyner, SGA president. The humor came during the convocation address delivered by Associate Provost, Dr. Carl Girelli.
Mr. Fisher brought greetings from his colleagues on the Board of Trustees and also welcomed the students, explaining that the college would prepare them for jobs "that have not yet been created." He reminded them that "opportunity is the child of change" and he urged them "to work hard, embrace change, and step into the future boldly."
Dr. Stephens recognized members of the Faculty Senate, Staff Council and the Junior Marshals, all of whom are in roles of service to the college community. He also led those gathered in the recitation of the college honor code.
Ms. Joyner also spoke on the topic of change, addressing her remarks to different classes of students — freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors. Quoting Mahatma Gandhi she said, "May you be the change you wish to see in the world."
Dr. Girelli added levity to the occasion delivering a convocation address entitled, "A Tale of Two Terms." He delighted the audience, especially the students in his linguistics class, with word play. He shared two words that his family had utilized to convey meanings particular to them — "cardinal" and "tuna." To the Girelli family, he said "cardinal" denotes something "new and bright and interesting," while "tuna" denotes "a treasure uncovered by good fortune and hard work."
Concluding his convocation address, Dr. Girelli said:;
"For those who have just joined the Catawba community, I hope you
are now experiencing the magical confluence of hard work and good
fortune. You have sought something that you knew must be out there,
but wondered if you would find it. You have worked, and searched and
waited. In finding Catawba College and your place here, you have surely
found a tuna. Finally, for all of us — faculty, staff, students and administrators,
let's have a new and bright and interesting year, shall we. I predict a bona
fide Cardinal 2010-2011 academic year." (Read full remarks)