A celebration at Convocation
With the sounds of the Cameron Concert Band reverberating through the rafters, the Cameron community heeded the call to Convocation at 10 a.m. on Sept. 18 in the Aggie Gym.
Students, faculty and staff came together once more for the annual recognition of academic excellence throughout campus. Cameron President Dr. John McArthur said that Convocation celebrates not only the start of the school year but also outstanding student achievement.
“We want to be able to celebrate the successes of all of our students,” he said, “and this is a great way to do that.”
This year, however, the event moved from the Fine Arts Courtyard indoors to the gym. According to McArthur, the move comes as a response to feedback from previous years that cited excessive heat and the potential for rain. He said that the move is experimental at this point.
“When we do the After Action Review after the event, [moving indoors] would be part of the consideration by our Public Exercises Task Force,” McArthur said. “That is going to be one of the key questions.”
Until that report manifests, though, McArthur emphasized the importance of student involvement in the event. From the performance of the Cameron Concert Band to the presentations from student speakers, he said students make the event special.
“When you call out the different honors societies,” McArthur said, “[people] see how engaged our students are with their academic work.
“It’s very interesting to see the breadth of interest of our students, what they do and have done with the talents they’ve been given and the hard work that they’ve committed,” he said.
From the opening processional, the students played a large part in the ceremony. As Assistant Professor of Music Dr. Matthew Mireles led the concert band, the platform party made its way to the stage before students filed into the gym. Student gonfalon carriers entered after, literally carrying the banners of their academic disciplines to line the sides of the stage.
Sophomore music major Lorenzo Butler opened the ceremony with the singing of the national anthem before McArthur provided opening remarks about the ceremony.
Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Ronna Vanderslice then made the call to convocation, speaking to the audience about the importance of the Millennial generation. Citing the generation’s collective traits, Vanderslice urged the students to strive for the best future they could attain.
“Take advantage of the special and individual qualities you bring to the table,” she said. “Set your sights high and start working now.”
Following Vanderslice’s remarks, senior psychology major and Student Government Association President Nikki Kirk led the recognition of the honors students throughout the crowd. As she read off the names, scholarships and honors societies, affiliated students stood for acknowledgment.
Afterward, senior English major Nicholas Brush led the round of student reflections. He said that his path to creating a unique learning experience was through the recreation of one’s self.
Master of Business Administration student Laura Espinosa followed Brush, imploring students not to give up on their dreams just because it will take time. She cited her efforts before showing gratitude to the members of the Cameron community who helped her.
She also had a piece of advice for the students in attendance.
“Get ready for the experience of a lifetime,” Espinosa said.
After Dr. Patrick Callaghan and the concert band performed “America, the Beautiful,” senior organizational leadership major Johnna Newby concluded the student reflections. She spoke of her ups and downs in the pursuit of academic perfection.
She said that with the help of her professors and others around her, she was able to make it through hard times both in the classroom and outside of the walls of academia.
“Perfection is not always possible,” Newby said. “This is a hard lesson to learn, and I still struggle … but I still strive for excellence.”
Following Newby’s presentation, McArthur gave his closing remarks for the event. Senior music major Jessica Fernandez led the Alma Mater before the Cameron Concert Band played the recessional.