Build connections. Dare to fail. Embrace the journey.
Those were among the words of advice and encouragement Keuka College’s newest class of students heard during the annual Academic Convocation on Friday, Aug. 25, in Norton Chapel.
The ceremony opened with words of welcome from College Chaplain Eric Detar and Board of Trustees Chair Dr. Crystal Gips ’65, who described the college years as “a time of self-discovery” and forging close bonds.
“In short,” she told students, “you will make lifelong friends at Keuka College.”
College President Amy Storey shared some of the College’s history with students before reminding them it is now time for them to write the next chapters: “Both the College’s and, more importantly, your own.”
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Brad Fuster stressed the importance of making good choices, from simple steps like faithfully attending class to more challenging matters such as seeking College support services to deal with stress and anxiety.
Delivering the Professor of the Year Address, Associate Professor of Political Science Dr. David Pak Leon discussed the emerging possibilities and challenges surrounding artificial intelligence and the importance they place on the need for independent thinking.
“A broadly based education—which we aspire to provide through the liberal arts and sciences—can allow us to exercise informed judgment and to become independent thinkers and actors in our communities,” he said. He later added: “Education is not only critical to building a career, but it is also foundational to our independence as individuals exercising rights and responsibilities in society and in the political system in particular.”
Student Senate President Lindsey VanAlstyne advised the class to take advantage of the College’s many avenues for enrichment as they embark on what will no doubt be a life-changing four years.
“Do all the things possible,” said the senior Environmental Science major. “Join an intramural team, join a club, or attend a sporting event. Embrace your journey through college because when you walk across the stage at graduation, I can guarantee you are not the same person sitting here today.”
Vice President for Student Development Dr. Heather Maldonado led the class in committing to the Keuka College community values articulated in The Way of the Wolf by pinning on themselves acorn pins they were given prior to the Convocation.
“Like the acorn to the oak,” she said, “it is our goal to help you develop personally, academically, and professionally from your start at Keuka College until the time you graduate.”
Academic Convocation, which commemorates the start of the academic year, culminated Wolf Week, a week-long series of new-student orientation programs and workshops designed to support the transition to campus life for the College’s first-year and incoming class.
Students said they appreciated the opportunity to familiarize themselves with their new home.
“I feel a lot better now than I did on Monday,” said Felicia Lantz, a Tioga, N.Y., native who plans on majoring in Nursing. “I know my way around.”
Classmate Madison Magyar of Henrietta had similar feelings.
“I’m a little more comfortable; I’ve met a lot of different people,” said Madison, who’s studying Occupational Therapy. She said she appreciated the chance to place even more names with faces at Academic Convocation. “It was nice to see the president and everyone.”