Convocation: A celebration of Cameron students

 By Isaiah Hernandez

Staff Writer

At 10 a.m., Oct. 4, Cameron students and faculty came together for Convocation in the Aggie Gym.

Dating back to the days of the oldest colleges and universities, Convocation is intended to inspire students to strive for success as well as to help them feel a connection to the existing academic community.

Speakers for this year’s Convocation included University President Dr. John McArthur, Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Ronna Vanderslice, President of the Student Government Association (SGA) Darius Morris, and student speakers Allison Duffin, Theresa Hinkle and Rylee McKee.

Professor of music Dr. Jim Lambert directed the Cameron Drumline to begin the ceremony and to accompany the procession.

The Platform Party were the first members of the procession and consisted of McArthur, the Vice Presidents, Deans, the Chair of Faculty Senate, the Student Government President, designated Regents and other speakers.

Honor society students followed the Platform Party ahead of scholarship recipients and retired faculty.

The next part of the procession consisted of honor students who carried academic gonfalons, followed by representatives from each department within Cameron.

Representatives came in their traditional and respective academic regalia which are worn to symbolize each person’s degree and the university or college from which they received their degree.

Following the procession, the Cameron ROTC Color Guard presented the Colors. Accompanying this, Senior Soprano Destiny Abila performed the national anthem.

After attendees were seated, McArthur welcomed students and faculty and introduced Vice President Vanderslice.

Vanderslice gave the call to convocation and described it as a celebration of academic excellence.

Vanderslice spoke about the importance of planning as a pathway to personal success.

“I hope students get that their success is dependent on them,” Vanderslice said. “And that hope is something they can create in themselves if they truly will set goals.”

Following Vanderslice, Morris recognized honor students and scholarship recipients.

This included members of Greek life organizations, honors societies, students who participated in distinguished scholarship programs and specific departmental scholarship recipients.

Then, the Cameron University Concert Choir, and the Tenors and Baritones of the Cameron University Concert Choir performed a brief musical interlude.

After the musical interlude, speakers Allison Duffin, Theresa Hinkle, and Rylee McKee present student reflections.

Duffin spoke first.

A senior of business administration with a concentration in management, as well as a captain of the Aggie Women’s Golf team and holder of the Lone Star Conference Academic Player of the Year for 2017-18, Duffin spoke about the importance and difficulty of attaining an education.

“However important it may be,” Duffin said, “it isn’t always easy, but the point is to keep going.”

Hinkle was the second student speaker.

Hinkle is a senior pursuing a dual degree in chemistry and biology, a participant in the Ecosystems Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program at the University of Arkansas in 2017, an attendee of the Spring 2019 meeting of the American Chemical Society, and a participant in the international REU in France.

She urged students to not only take advantage of opportunities that are provided to them at Cameron, but also to know their limits.

“If you are not mentally prepared for a task, then you will not perform at your full potential,” Hinkle said.

The final student speaker was McKee, a senior Political Science major minoring in Pre-Law; a member of the Cameron Alumni Association, Baptist Collegiate Ministries, and the Cameron Honor Student Society; a past SGA senator and secretary; and a past Vice President for the Cameron Honor Student Society; a member of the award winning Model UN team for the 2017- 18 year; and a Presidential Leaders and University Scholar.

In her speech, McKee said she was mistaken in her first thoughts of Cameron, seeing it as a small school without much in the way of unique opportunities.

McKee said, now, she views her education at Cameron very differently.

“It doesn’t matter how big the university is, or how big your job is, or wherever you are in life,” McKee said, “you need to grow where you’re planted, and there will be opportunities if you’re willing to say ‘yes’ and seek them out.”

Following student reflections, McArthur gave concluding remarks.

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