Hood College marked the start of its 124th academic year with its annual Convocation ceremony Monday morning in the Hodson Outdoor Theater on campus.
The morning began with the traditional dinking ceremony during which the incoming class received their dinks, blue for their class color. The students and faculty then processed into the Hodson Outdoor Theater.
Bill Brown, vice president for enrollment management, introduced the incoming class to the campus community; President Andrea E. Chapdelaine, Ph.D., and Logan Samuels, president of the Student Government Association, welcomed new and returning students to campus; Debbie Ricker, Ph.D., new provost and vice president for academic affairs, recognized outstanding student achievements; Karen Hoffman, Ph.D., associate professor of philosophy and chair of the department of philosophy and religious studies, delivered the keynote address; and Joy Miller Beveridge ’82 shared greetings from alumni and her fond memories of her time as a student.
Hoffman told the students: “My hope is not just that you look back on today as the start of an exciting new academic year, but that you look back on all your college years as the start of a life-long love of learning, a passionate engagement with the world and the beings that inhabit it, a compassionate commitment to improving the lives of others, and a deeper understanding of who you are, who you want to become and how you can make a difference.”
This year’s group of new students includes 221 new first-year students and 103 new transfer students. Members of the Class of 2020 come from 15 states, the District of Columbia and three foreign countries. There are 259 new graduate students. Hood’s total student population is 2,106.
The graduate school will begin two new programs this fall, a Master of Science in bioinformatics and a doctoral program that includes a Doctorate of Organizational Leadership and a Doctorate of Business Administration.
“Students, you are the focus of everything we do at Hood,” President Chapdelaine said. “You are our raison d’être—our reason for being. We are all committed to helping you not only to succeed, but to exceed: to discover and realize capacities, goals and dreams you may not yet even yet know you have.”
During the summer, first-year students read Paige Rawl’s book “Positive: A Memoir” for small-group discussions about the themes, issues and conflicts raised in the book. Specially trained Hood faculty, staff and students co-facilitate these discussions. Rawl was born HIV-positive, and her book discusses the bullying she received throughout her childhood because of that diagnosis and how she overcame that bullying. Rawl will visit campus Oct. 19 for a public lecture and book signing.
Samuels reflected on the book and told students to remember: “You have the power to make a difference. There is always someone cheering you on. You have nothing to hide or be ashamed of. If you come across a new challenge, do not give up, but instead, vow to learn more. You’ve got a lot of light within you.”
For photos from Convocation, visit photos.hood.edu/Convocation-2016.