Student Convocation: A scholarly welcome
Published: Monday, August 27, 2012
Updated: Monday, August 27, 2012 23:08
Dennis Dong, senior computer science major, smiled as caricature artist Ellen Lustig sketched the curve of his chin with a black marker during Student Convocation on Thursday, Aug. 23.
While attempting to remain still, Dong said he was enjoying the student welcoming festivities held in Founders Plaza. As an international student from Beijing, this is Dong’s first semester at PUC. Previously, Dong attended the Beijing Institute of Technology, where he said student convocations are very different.
“It’s been very good and fresh for me,” Dong said, commenting on the overall atmosphere of the event. “In China, they have a lot of presentations and just show you the university.”
At PUC, Student Convocation is a combination of various activities, food, music and student organization recruitment tables. Not only do the festivities encourage student involvement, but they also welcome back students to a new school year.
PUC Chancellor Thomas Keon opened his convocation address by expressing his fondness for this time of the year.
“I always think the start of the school year is such an uplifting experience,” Keon said.
In his address, Keon also spoke to the importance of student and faculty engagement to make PUC the hometown university of Northwest Indiana.
SGA President Marisa Henderson welcomed the incoming freshman class as well as returning students. Henderson, who also participated in the onstage discussion panel, assured students that by choosing to attend PUC, they have the opportunity to learn from professors who play active roles in their chosen academic fields.
“Not only has Purdue University Calumet become an informed university, but they have made a mark on the world,” Henderson said, alluding to Associate Professor of Physics Neeti Parashar’s contribution to the likely discovery of the Higgs boson, or the “God particle.”
Associate Professor of Communication Catherine Gillotti also participated in the discussion panel. In Q-and-A format, students and faculty shared advice and experiences with the audience. Gillotti imparted words of wisdom she received from her older brother after a disappointing grade on her first freshman composition.
“Your professors should know who you are. Don’t be afraid to get to know us,” Gillotti said.
Convocation festivities also served up an assortment of foods, including chocolate-covered pretzels, caramel apple slices, kabobs and fruit smoothies, all provided by PUC organizations. Additionally, students could take pictures in the photo booth provided by Student Activities.
Seconds before Dong received his completed caricature, he described his expectations for the year ahead.
“I plan to study a lot at first. Then I’d like to meet a lot of new people,” Dong said.