UNC Pembroke officially launched the 2010-2011 academic year with Convocation ceremonies on August 25 in the Givens Performing Arts Center.
Chancellor Kyle R. Carter
Chancellor Kyle R. Carter presided over his first Convocation and welcomed a packed house with about 1,400 attendees, many of whom were freshmen. He offered some fatherly advice to the newest members of the UNCP community.
“To be successful here, you will have to do your part,” Chancellor Carter said. “You will have to be a serious student, be involved, manage your time wisely and make good choices. These are ingredients for a successful college experience.
“I am also asking you to take pride in this wonderful institution,” he continued. “You can show your pride by attending academic, cultural and athletic events, and by celebrating the accomplishments of your friends and faculty.”
As he did in his University Address, Dr. Carter invoked UNCP’s mascot, the red-tailed hawk, as a symbol of “strength, determination, focus and achievement.”
“The next time you go to the University Center, stand before the big stone and read the plaque,” he said. “It says ‘Seek the Hawk Within Yourself.’
“That’s why you’re here, to find what you’re best at and how you will excel,” Dr. Carter said. “We, the faculty and staff of the University are here to help you find your own individual ‘hawk’ and be the best you can be at whatever you choose.
“We’re all about fulfilling opportunities,” he concluded.
Dr. Virginia K. McClanahan
Dr. Virginia K. McClanahan, a senior faculty member and assistant chair of the English and Theatre Department, gave the keynote address.
She enthusiastically welcomed the class of 2014 as if she already knew them. In fact, Dr. McClanahan, who specializes is linguistics and speech, is already acquainted with the freshmen, Interim Provost Dr. William Gash noted in his introduction.
“Dr. McClanahan has a unique perspective on each new class at UNCP,” Dr. Gash said. “You probably don’t know her yet, but she has heard your voice, just as she has heard every class for the past 11 years.
“She is the one who listens to your recording that is part of the University’s speech requirement,” he said.
In her talk, Dr. McClanahan put a twist on the “live for the moment” motto of another generation.
“For me, enjoying the moment and having options are two keys to happiness in life,” she said. “Don’t be too busy worrying about the future or the past to enjoy the moment.
“Some students attend college thinking about only about finishing,” Dr. McClanahan said. “Please don’t be in such a hurry; enjoy the process.
“Of course, I am not talking about enjoyment at someone else’s expense, and I’m not suggesting that we should attempt to spend all our time seeking out things that are fun,” she cautioned.
“By all means enjoy those Thursday night parties, but — and there is always a but — enjoy working on the paper that is due on Monday morning, or perish the thought, on Friday morning,” she said.
She welcomed the newest members of a “community of learners.” Dr. McClanahan encouraged them to experience new things, including diverse academic subjects.
“That is why I really hate to hear students complain about general education courses,” she said. “These courses help you learn about options. You might discover something absolutely fascinating.
“Explore areas you know little or nothing about and things you have little experience with,” Dr. McClanahan said. “Learning is exciting, fun and fulfilling, and you will never have a greater opportunity to do this than in the next four years that you are here.
“Take advantage of other options on campus, too,” she concluded. “Look around, there is a lot to do here; you just have to be open to them.”
Offering welcoming remarks were Dr. Freda Porter on behalf of the Board of Trustees, Arjay Quizon on behalf of the Student Government Association and Dr. Rami Maysami for the Faculty Senate.