The University celebrated its 122nd convocation in the Sports Science and Athletics Pavilion on Aug. 29.
The annual event marking the beginning of a new school year was full of optimism, highlighting opportunities for faculty, administration and students.
“As we begin this fresh new year, it is a good time to take stock and consider our hopes and aspirations for a successful year,” Provost Greg Dewey said.
“We all have the potential to create our own future for this coming year.”
Dewey attributed the success of the school to the faculty, administration and students all working together.
He addressed the ongoing expansion of the University as well.
“We need to manage growth and deal with capacity issues,” Dewey said.
He said the University must begin to secure itself and its future to deal with the growth.
President Devorah Lieberman congratulated the classes of 2014 to 2017, faculty and administrators for choosing La Verne.
“For everyone who is new and returning, it’s the beginning, the beginning of a new year … a new chapter, a new semester,” Lieberman said.
Lieberman also spoke to students about setting goals and staying in school.
“More students leave school for one reason, and that is they don’t feel connected,” Lieberman said.
She urged students to make a connection with at least one faculty member who genuinely cares and to have at least two close friends.
Lieberman explained that this exercise would help students feel a sense of belonging at La Verne and return for the coming years.
Lieberman also challenged students to live by the high standards of the University.
“The University of La Verne was founded 122 years on four values – inclusivity and diversity, community and civic engagement, ethical reasoning and lifelong learning,” Lieberman said.
These values are ones that the University needs to uphold this year and in the coming years, she said.
Convocation speaker Paul Alvarez, professor of kinesiology and director of the athletic training education program, spoke about having a moment in which someone else’s success inspires others to create their own.
He encouraged the audience to have an “incandescent moment” like the one in the sports movie “Rudy.”
“The flame that can be ignited from those moments can light the way for others to achieve their dreams as well,” Alvarez said.
“This La Verne community, all of us, can only succeed and grow if we support each other, “ Alvarez said.
He asked everyone to shine brightly in his or her own incandescent moment this year.
Elizabeth Ross, president of the Associated Students of the University of La Verne, then led students in reciting the new student honor pledge.
Each new student stood and pledged to respect the University of La Verne, as well as others and themselves.
Dewey ended convocation by reminding students that convocation is just the beginning of an academic career.
The end is walking across the stage at commencement, he told them.
Rachel Sandoval can be reached at email@example.com.