Convocation Celebrates New Academic Year

Award-winning author Jamaica Kincaid provided the keynote talk at this year’s Convocation ceremony.

After two Weeks of Welcome—interrupted by a tropical storm—NSU undergraduate students, faculty, and staff members celebrated the official start of the 2012–2013 academic year at Convocation on Sept. 4.

“Convocation provides an opportunity to pause and reflect on your purpose and your goals here at the university,” said Don Rosenblum, Ph.D., dean of the Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences, which hosts the annual ceremony. “It’s never too early to think about the ways your faculty can help you achieve those goals.”

George L. Hanbury II, Ph.D., president of the university, echoed the dean’s thoughts and offered advice for students as they begin the new school year. “Orientation period is over,” Hanbury said. “It’s time to pull up your sleeves and start thinking about your academic future.” Moreover, he encouraged students to offer and seek “diverse perspectives” as they engage in various endeavors at NSU.

Rosenblum then introduced Leanne Boucher, Ph.D., assistant professor at the college. Boucher, who received the 2012 Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences Full-Time Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award, represented faculty in welcoming students and introducing this year’s academic theme of “Life and Death.”

“We are living a life that no one else ever has—and no one ever will,” Boucher said. “No one else will ever see things exactly like you do. Your perspective and your contribution are truly unique. So take some time to be a college student. Take some time to live.

“You have but one life,” Boucher said. “Don’t just live it, experience it.”

Highlighting the Convocation ceremony was a keynote talk by award-winning author Jamaica Kincaid, whose novel Annie John served as the 2012 selection for the college’s First-Year Reading Program.

Kincaid elaborated on the academic theme and its profound impact on her life. “I’ve always been obsessed with life and death,” she said. “I once wrote, ‘death is a standard, and life interrupts death.’”

The author also spoke candidly about the death of her brother, who passed at age 33 of AIDS in 1996. “It was in his death that I came to understand his life,” she said. Kincaid concluded the talk by reading an excerpt from her 1997 book My Brother, an emotional recount of her brother’s life and death.

Convocation culminated with recognition of the 2011–2012 Dean’s List Scholars, undergraduate students who earned the Dean’s List for the fall and winter semesters in their first year of enrollment. Many of the more than 120 Dean’s List Scholars gathered on stage.

Following the ceremony, Kincaid met with students, faculty members, and guests at a reception and book signing. The night concluded with a private dinner seminar, at which the author spoke with students from the First-Year Reading Program and the college’s M.A. in Writing program.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to toolbar