Trojan spirit was alive and well on Friday, Aug. 15, as students, faculty, administrators, and staff welcomed the freshman class to the University of Arkansas at Little Rock campus during Convocation 2014.
Freshman Convocation is an annual tradition offered by UALR’s Student Affairs to mark the beginning of students’ academic journey.
It was held from 10 to 11 a.m. in the University Theater to provide freshmen an opportunity to assemble as a class and – incorporating the academic processional and recessional into the ceremony – foreshadow commencement.
“Freshman Convocation presents a wonderful opportunity to welcome our new students to the school year, as well as establish the expectations we have for their future academic success at UALR,” said Dr. Brad Patterson, new interim vice provost for student affairs and dean of students.
The faculty speaker this year was Dr. Michael Kleine, who delivered the academic charge to the new students. Other featured speakers included Dr. Zulma Toro, executive vice chancellor and provost, and Student Government Association President Lauren McNeaill.
McNeaill implored the new students to start the year off right with a top eight “unofficial” list of things to do in their first year. Among them was to look at the opportunity as “a fresh start, a chance to reinvent yourself.”
McNeaill, who had just returned from a study abroad trip to Nicaragua where she witnessed poverty and hunger, also told the students that while they are mastering their studies they should also “learn what it means to be compassionate.”
Patterson followed McNeail’s sentiments by encouraging the students to work hard and look to the campus community for help when needed.
“Learn to face your fear. You have a chance to recreate yourself and decide who you want to be, and know that these people here on this stage are here to help you,” Patterson said.
Students enjoyed brunch in the Donaghey Student Center Diamond Cafe following the event.
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