‘Spirit of Change’ Highlighted at Fall Convocation

Siena Heights University

The “spirit of change” academic theme was taken quite literally this year with the holding of convocation in the Spencer Performing Arts Center Music Hall instead of the chapel.

This change was made so that way the event could be livestreamed due to COVID as well as attendance in person with masks, but the event was still just as inspiring. No matter the location, the words of Siena Heights University President Sister Peg Albert and other speakers still draw the attention of everyone in attendance.

The choir opened the event with the singing of the Alma Mater and the National Anthem beautifully. After this, Julius Nagy started the event with a prayer. He summed up convocation to students by describing it as “looking a lot like the sorting hat ceremony from Harry Potter when new professors are introduced, and speeches are given.” It was a good assessment of the event to make with all the professors in attendance wearing their ceremonial robes.

Vice President of Academic Affairs Sister Sharon Weber made introductions for all the speakers, and the first speaker was President Albert, who welcomed the students to campus.

After Sister Peg’s message about the spirit of change and her excitement for the upcoming year, Hannah Thomas took the stage. Thomas is Student Government president for Siena, and her speech focused on overcoming. She talked about her brain tumor and how a blanket given to her in the hospital inspired her to give back.

After Thomas, Matthew Barbee took the stage, as the chairperson of The Faculty Assembly. Students then heard from Eric Kos, who was the recipient of the Eileen K. Rice Award for Outstanding Teaching in April 2021. Kos’ speech revolved around the book “Divergent” and how the different factions work and come together, much like the student body on campus.

After all speeches were finished, Sister Peg again took the stage to lead the incoming students in a Pledge of Loyalty and Ceremony of Commitment with artificial candles that could be lit with a switch. Students all rose and responded to her invitation with their pledge of loyalty to Siena.

Convocation ended with a benediction from Kateri Golbiw from Campus Ministry. She also touched on the spirit of change by stating that “change is an opportunity for growth,” and encouraged students to embrace the change that is surrounding them as they start their college journey.

The turnout of students filled many seats in the Music Hall. Golbiw said after convocation that “convocation went really good.”

This year, all students are encouraged to embrace the “spirit of change” as they embark on or continue on their academic journey.