Educate. Explore. Engage.
President Joyce McConnell welcomed Colorado State University’s Class of 2023 with her “E-cubed” formula for success at the 2019 Convocation on Aug. 22 in Moby Arena.
“You’re here to educate yourself,” she said. “It’s your education, you own it, and here at CSU it is yours for the taking. You’re also here to explore, literally, because this is the most beautiful campus you will ever find. And explore in other ways too – ideas and books that intrigue you, your own talents and interests, other cultures and languages, in the classroom and in conversations with people in your residence halls. Listen to the other voices around you, respect them – even when you disagree – and embrace the possibility of just how much you can learn from our diversity.
“What you’ll discover is that the world doesn’t get smaller the more you explore it. It gets bigger, because more and more possibilities open up,” McConnell continued. “And while you’re exploring our campus and our world? Keep your eyes open for what you can do to make that world a better place. I can’t wait to see what you do!”
A newcomer herself
CSU’s 15th president, the first woman to hold the office in the University’s 150-year history, noted that she is also in her inaugural year on campus – “I beat you here by only about 40 days,” she told the first-year students – and received an enthusiastic standing ovation when she was first introduced by Provost Rick Miranda.
After Sophia Alvarevez, a student in the Health and Exercise Science program and a member of the Northern Cheyenne tribe, delivered the University’s Land Acknowledgement, Miranda and Blanche Hughes, vice president for student affairs, also addressed Convocation. Miranda spoke of the academic journey ahead, challenging the students to learn not only from the brightest minds in Colorado – the students and faculty on campus – but from the setbacks they will inevitably encounter along the way.
“This is an opportunity to explore new realms of learning, and you can become a new person through the experience,” he said. “We’re here to help you explore that new world – it’s our job.”
Hughes acknowledged that new students typically feel a wide range of emotions at the beginning of their time at CSU – ready to get started with classes, a little torn, or just “outright scared” – but she reassured them that, based on all that they have accomplished to make it this far, “you deserve to be here today. It’s not an accident that you are here; you chose to be at CSU.”
‘Focus on learning’
She also pointed out that the first four weeks of the semester are a critical time. “That’s when you can set your own course for success. It’s your opportunity to focus on learning, so talk to faculty and students, especially the older students who have been there before.”
Hughes emphasized that while there are people at CSU who care about them, and helpful resources to help them succeed, students should also remember those who supported them on their way here.
“Don’t forget to share your journey with your family and other people in your life, let them know how you are doing,” she said. “Appreciate that they need to hear from you, and that they are learning to live without you being there as well.”
CSU President Joyce McConnell and Provost and Executive Vice President Rick Miranda lead the Convocation recessional at Moby Arena. Photos by John Eisele, CSU Photography
Hughes also talked about one of the core values of CSU, a concept that was echoed by McConnell: Rams take care of Rams.
“Here at CSU, we live by the Principles of Community, and you are now part of that community,” Hughes said. “Treat everyone with respect, and let them know you care about them as well.”
McConnell added that Rams don’t belittle or bully each other: “And on this campus, we don’t ever, ever resort to physical violence of intimidation, in any situation. Accept the responsibility to make CSU the best campus in the whole world in terms of kindness – and no violence.”
The students also heard from ASCSU President Ben Amundson and Assistant Vice President for University Advancement Kristi Bohlender before departing for the family picnic and carnival sponsored by the Alumni Association.