Appreciation, initiation and inclusion

University Convocation celebrates, welcomes faculty and administration to Quinnipiac community

By on September 4, 2018

Quinnipiac faculty gathered in attendance for the University Convocation to kick of the 89th academic year on an uplifting note on Thursday, Aug. 30.

Mark Thompson, executive vice president and provost, opened up the ceremony with great appreciation for the faculty.

“Quinnipiac is a great institution because our faculty and staff care,” Thompson said. “You care. You care about our University, you care about each other – your colleagues – and you certainly care about the well-being and success of our students.”

Thompson then announced the 16th annual Center for Excellence in Teaching and Service to Students in which six individuals in recognition of their extraordinary commitment and dedication are chosen for this award. Over 200 nominations total were made for all the awards given, which Thompson said “confirms the breadth and depth of commitment among our faculty and staff.”

Recipients of the Excellence in Teaching awards

  • Lynn Byers, professor of mechanical engineering
  • Scott McLean, professor of political science
  • Robert Yawson, assistant professor of management

Recipients of the Excellence in Service to Students awards

  • Ray Ciarlelli, public safety officer
  • Lauren Erardi, director of academic technology
  • Ronda Kolbin, public services librarian

Honorees will be recognized at the annual Center for Excellence Awards Ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 18 and have their names engraved into the stone plaque located in the Arnold Bernhard Library, according to a Quinnipiac press release.

Thompson asked the audience to recognize the 139 new faculty and 93 new administrators joining the Quinnipiac community as of Aug. 20.

“They are joining a university community committed to high quality, committed to students, a community where we respect one another and a culture that is supportive, collaborative,” Thompson said.

Thompson later made it back to the stage, sharing his thoughts on the evolving higher education environment. Despite changes, Quinnipiac has been quite adaptive as it is ranked in the top 20 percent of colleges at number 203 of 1,056, according to the 2018 Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education college rankings.

Next up to address the audience was Greg Einhorn, vice president for admissions & financial aid to talk about the newest addition of students in undergraduate, graduate, medicine, law and online programs.

Specifically, the class of 2022 makes up the second largest class in the University’s history with 1,952 freshmen and 201 transfer students, chosen from over 23,600 applications.

Demographics

    19% identify as students of color

    Approximately 1 in five is a first genera-
      tion college student

    Nearly 3% are international

  • 33 states and 31 countries are represented

Academics

  • 6% will study engineering
  • 10% will study nursing
  • 11% will study communications
  • 22% will study business
  • 1 in 5 will study health sciences
  • 28% will study arts and sciences
  • 4% will study education

More than 200 students will join accelerated programs in business, communications, biology and law and graduate a year early with respective graduate degrees.

President Judy Olian then took to the stage to give the 2018 convocation address, just shy of two months into the position. However, Olian broke the expectation that she would be sharing her big picture vision for her first year.

“While I like moving at a fast pace, it would be presumptuous to stand before you today and pretend to have all the answers. I am like so many of the freshman who are just beginning their higher education journey at Quinnipiac,” Olian said.

Instead, Olian addressed higher education as a whole and shared the overarching mission of her upcoming presidency, without going into specific goals.

“For me, education is a human right,” Olian said. “And whether public or private, universities have a moral duty to lift society by providing access to learning, to the advances that knowledge facilitates.”

Laced throughout Olian’s speech is the importance of equality and working together to achieve greatness.

“It is our responsibility, those of us who were born lucky, to reach out and to provide opportunity to those whose circumstances – by pure chance – were not as lucky,” Olian said. “I’ve already seen that spirit of generosity in many of you, and I’ve learned, with pride, that that is a special commitment of Quinnipiac in its quest to provide the gift of education to many.”

She hopes to challenge students by opening them up to the unfamiliar and unexpected by building a strong foundation in the humanities, arts and sciences across racial, ethnic, gender, age, geographical, national, appearance and economic differences.

Shifting the focus back onto the important of faculty, Olian shared her success story in higher education at the University of Wisconsin.

“These ambitions are guided by my unshakeable faith in the transformative power of higher education,” Olian said. “I was an immigrant on an F2 visa. I had no intention of getting a PhD. But Professor Schwab took me under his wing and encouraged me to completely rethink what I could become. One professor literally changed my life. Many of you are that professor, to someone.”

She addressed major disconnects in higher education, including workforce preparedness out of college.

“As university educators, we learn the past, to understand the present, to create the future,” Olian said. “We – Quinnipiac – must find ways to adapt to new student and learning models, and new demands of the marketplace.”

Olian, with her optimistic words, exhibited great excitement to be given the opportunity to work with students, staff and faculty in beginning her journey at Quinnipiac.

“While a university like Quinnipiac exists for its students, it shines because of its faculty and staff,” Olian said. “Thank you for making Quinnipiac an institution that both earns and deserves the loyalty of its 10,000 students and 50,000 alumni. They are proud to be Bobcats – and now, so am I.”

Comments

About Christina Popik

Editor-In-Chief
Graphic & Interactive Design Major
Twitter:@Christinapopikk
Class of 2019