New Student Convocation sets the stage for Class of 2017


Jan Orvik

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New Student Convocation sets the stage for Class of 2017

The college experience can be a richly rewarding journey of self-discovery, new students were advised as they began their first year at the University of North Dakota Aug. 26 at New Student Convocation. The formal event, with an academic procession and regalia, is similar to Commencement, and featured speakers, videos, and the UND Choir. Students also received a diploma cover which contained a freshman class photo taken at Memorial Stadium during Welcome Weekend.

"Every year, we begin with Convocation, a new beginning that focuses on our mission and why we're here," said President Robert O. Kelley. "Why we are here is embodied by Exceptional UND, our roadmap with five value statements. We learn together through collaboration, gather together, reach out to the region, country, and world, and enhance the quality of life."

Kelley emphasized that the faculty on stage and throughout campus are vitally concerned with the success of their students and helping them earn degrees. And, Kelley added, he looks forward to greeting them in person four years from now as they cross the commencement stage as members of the Class of 2017.

Aviation Professor Joe Vasek compared the student journey to a solo backpack trip he took last summer through the desert in an area named Dead Man's Creek Canyon. "There will be times when expectations and discovery don't match," he said. "There will be times you feel like you're trudging through deep snow – and times you really are trudging through deep snow to get to class."

Vacek told students that it's okay to struggle and suffer, and that survival is the best teacher. "Have confidence even when suffering," he said. "Your willpower will enable you to succeed."

Student Body President Nick Creamer urged students to surround themselves with friends who will hold them accountable. "Find friends who will drive you to be your best."

Lori Reesor, vice president for Student Affairs, said one key to success is to meet new and different people who will become lifelong friends. "Feel part of the community, stretch yourself, and seize the moment," she said. "Welcome to your new life at UND. Welcome, Class of 2017."

Jan Orvik

University and Public Affairs writer

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