Catawba College welcomed members of its Class of 2019 and officially kicked off the 2015-1016 academic year at Opening Convocation held Tuesday, August 18th in Omwake-Dearborn Chapel. Despite rain showers, new students were welcomed by faculty clad in academic regalia as they departed the chapel after the ceremony.
The Convocation marked the beginning of the 165th year of the College and was a time to focus on the institutional honor code, being a part of the campus community, and to peer into the future to consider all potential vocational opportunities available to students after graduation.
Members of the campus community heard brief remarks from Mr. Justin Burroughs '16, executive president of the student government association; Mrs. Darlene Ball '62, chair of the Catawba Board of Trustees; Dr. Doug Brown, faculty senate chair; and Mr. Rodney R. Rymer, staff council chair. They were also introduced to new student government officers including Mr. Burroughs, president; Mr. Blake Brewer, vice president; Mr. David Stevenson, secretary; and Ms. Caroline Graham, treasurer.
College Provost Dr. J. Michael Bitzer who offered the convocation address shared his own vocational experiences with those gathered. "Over my time, I've been a newspaper reporter, then a public affairs officer, then a graduate student, then teacher, and now provost. That's half of what the Bureau of Labor Statistics has found most Americans will have in the number of jobs over their lifetime.
"But over these five jobs and three degrees, what I have found is that there are skills that are critical to having that progression in my career. This past spring, a research firm surveyed both recent college graduates and employers about different skills needed in the workforce and how well prepared today's college graduates are when they enter the work force. Between 75 and 85 percent of employers and college students said these skills were most important for the workplace: Oral Communication; Working with others in teams; Written Communication; Critical & Analytical Thinking; Ethical Judgment and Decision-making; and Applying Knowledge and Skills to the Real World."
Bitzer encouraged his audience to ponder those important skills and how to develop them as they are considering possible vocations. He also encouraged them to take to heart the college honor code and to practice academic integrity during the course of their undergraduate careers.
Catawba's Executive President of the Student Government Association Justin Burroughs '16 led the audience in reciting the college honor code.Thereafter, new students signed in as members of the Class of 2019. The sheets containing their signatures will be compiled in a volume that records all new members to the college, beginning with last year's new members in the Class of 2018. Each new student also received a pin that displays Catawba's academic seal and its four distinct words: Scholarship, Character, Culture and Service.
Following the Convocation, new students braved the rain to be greeted by faculty before enjoying a club fair, a community supper in the campus dining hall, and an evening movie in Keppel Auditorium.