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Convocation speakers call for unity, exploration

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New president Devorah Lieberman received a warm welcome at her first Convocation on Sept. 1. Lieberman spoke of her educational journey and her excitement over her new position. her speech “We Are All LEOs!” highlighted values she wishes to focus on this year. / photo by Danielle Navarro

Karlie Bettencourt
Copy Editor

Convocation speakers marked the official beginning of a new academic year, encouraging students and faculty to unite and branch out in the community, to learn about other cultures and improve society.

“This is the presidency for which I have been preparing throughout my career,” said new University President Devorah Lieberman.

Lieberman and English Professor Dorena Wright, recipient of the Excellence in Teaching award, were the events main speakers.

“Together we are LEOs!” was the title of Lieberman’s speach, which centered on the idea that each letter in “Leo” stood for a value to be embraced by students and faculty.

L for “Lifelong learning,”­­ the first value, addressed the idea that we learn not only in classrooms but in everyday experiences for the rest of our lives.

“At ULV you can see the commitment to student success through every program,” Lieberman said.

E for “Engagement” refers to all majors intersecting in classes and the environment of the University.

This allows students to gain a multi-faceted education and not just one directly linked to their majors.

“Faculty is here to help students reach their fullest potential,” Lieberman said.

“One University,” Lieberman said, stressed that we are united and are not several colleges sharing one campus. No college at La Verne is privileged over another, Lieberman said.

“I entrust you with the duty to be socially responsible,” Lieberman told her audience of students and faculty.

“Socially responsible” is what the s in LEOs! represents.

It refers to applying the knowledge students gain globally and act with social responsibility and leadership to be models for those who are not as privileged.

“Stay true to what it means to be a Leo,” Lieberman said.

“We have been called as travelers of journeys,” Wright said during her speech which preceded Lieberman’s.

Wright’s speech concentrated on becoming a traveler and learning about different cultures.

“There is nothing as effective as immersion in an unknown culture,” Wright said.

She shared her travels over the years, which have taken her from England through Australia, Oregon, California and more.

“I visited not as a tourist, but as a short-time resident,” Wright said.

She not only encouraged students to study abroad but also told students how they can mentally travel.

She explained students can do this by not only learning about other places from textbooks but also by speaking with students who come here from other countries.

“It does not end when you finish your exams, close your books, or earn your bachelor’s degree,” Wright said. “It will last as long as life itself.”

Along with the speeches given by Wright and Lieberman, new students were led through the honor pledge and heard the alma mater for the first time.

The part of convocation that got the “ahh” from the audience was when Lieberman was presented with the academic regalia robe.

“The heart of our community past, present, and future are with you,” Provost Greg Dewey told Lieberman.

“Convocation was very inspiring,” sophomore international studies major Chelsea Morin said.

“Hopefully it will inspire the freshmen to do well this year.”

The stands in the Athletic Pavilion were full with new and returning students, faculty aand staff.

“It’s important that faculty and students take pride in our mission statements and uphold them,” said Rosalilia Gradilla, a student in the master of education program.

Karlie Bettencourt can be reached at

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