Gray-Little tells students to take charge
- Aug. 21, 2011
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Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little challenged students to begin an ascent to excellence during the 146th Convocation Sunday night.
Speaking behind a podium shrouded in flowers and flanked by the deans and provosts of the University, Gray-Little said that students had the support of faculty and staff, but that they also had to take charge.
“Ultimately though, we can only serve and guide; we can’t carry you,” Gray-Little said.
Opportunities such as alternative breaks, internships and service learning are a great way for students to belong to something greater than themselves, Gray-Little said.
Speaking to the entire university community, Gray-Little said there were many ways for the institution, as a whole, to measure success, but real success is measured in lives changed. Gray-Little also spoke about the University’s strategic plan that is currently in development. A draft of the plan was posted on the Provost’s website on Aug. 16. It centers on four themes: sustaining the planet and powering the world, promoting well-being and finding cures, building communities and expanding opportunities, and harnessing information and multiplying knowledge.
“They set out the new, higher expectations we have for ourselves,” Gray-Little said.
“On the climb, we face a headwind from the economy,” But there will be challenges.
Gray-Little warned that the University would not be successful as a national research university if it does not “climb.”
Student body president Libby Johnson told students they were a privileged group and shared how her grandfather came from modest means and was the only person in his family to attend college. He eventually earned a PhD and became a professor.
“With a degree from this university you have the world at your fingertips,” Johnson said.
A few other members of the faculty also gave brief remarks during the Convocation, a ceremony filled with tradition. During the processional, faculty were led into the auditorium by Maria Carlson, the University Marshall. She carried the university mace, a shaft made of wood from the old Fraser Hall and lined with rubies and sapphires that shine crimson and blue.
At the end of Convocation, the alma mater was sung and the crowd participated in the Rock Chalk chant.
Edited by C.J. Matson