Markida Scotland |
ST. CROIX — The University of the Virgin Islands on Thursday welcomed new and transfer students of the Class of 2018 to the campus at a Convocation and Buccaneer Reception.
The ceremony opened with words from the UVI’s Student Government Association president, Sophia Johnson, who assured students that they made the right choice in attending the university.
“You are sitting here in UVI’s Great Hall as the future lawyers, teachers, doctors, researchers, engineers, accountants, managers and governors,” Johnson said. “You have chosen the best school to further your education. This is our home, our UVI: Historically American, Uniquely Caribbean and Globally Interactive.”
“I welcome you. SGA welcomes you. The University of the Virgin Islands, Albert A. Sheen St. Croix Campus welcomes each and every one of you,” Johnson said.
Dean of Student Affairs Stephan Moore said the vice provost of access and enrollment, Nicole Gibbs, was instrumental in bringing the idea to the table – as well as inspiring and engaging them in getting onboard with creating a new tradition for the university.
“A lot of the administrators and cabinet members had experienced convocation when they were going through school and we had memorable testimonies about it,” Moore said. “And so we said, ‘Why can we not share that experience with our students?’”
University President David Hall said students coming from high school needed a message and a process that let them know the difference between university life and high school, which was part of the reasoning behind this year’s convocation.
He said that the faculty and administrators assembled in their academic regalia in order for students to appreciate the seriousness of their academic journey and that a university experience provides each student with an opportunity to open the door to the world in a much deeper and meaningful way.
“We are inviting you to join this community of thinkers who are on a mission to better understand the word that exists around us and the world that exists inside of us,” Hall said. “Not just the world of politics and popular culture, but the worlds of human development and progress, the worlds of science and mathematics, the worlds of wealth and poverty, of disease and healing, and we are inviting you to explore these worlds and better understand them.”
Hall added that the goal for the students was not to just accept what the faculty will present to them but to question and challenge them as well as push the boundaries of what is shared.
“The faculty and administrators with whom you will interact in the years to come are your guides, not your wardens. They are not here to imprison you. They are here to unleash the power of your minds,” Hall said.
Hall encouraged students to embrace their newfound freedom, but to also remain responsible.
“You are not just attending college. You are attending a place that can propel your life to greater heights and we are honored that you have chosen this landing pad,” Hall said. “Thank you for having faith in this institution and having faith in yourself. I look forward to saluting and graduating all of you in some form or the other. Welcome to UVI.”
Following the president’s remarks was the pinning of students with Gibbs officially inducting the new students into the university.
Closing remarks were presented by SGA Vice President Janelle Royer.
“If there is one thing you need to leave here from Dr. Hall’s message is that you must be the leader you were destined to be,” Royer said. “Engage the world to change the world; however, in order to engage the world you must first, we must first, engage ourselves.”
“From here forward, our new students will be building their academic career house,” Royer said.
A musical selection from the UVI Choir closed the program, followed by a reception for the new Buccaneers that included a performance from the university’s steel pan orchestra.
The orientation process concludes Friday and fall semester classes will officially begin on Monday for both campuses.