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First-Year Convocation Welcomes New Scholars to Campus

Posted: August 24, 2010
Convocation, from the Latin words meaning “to call together,” has been used to describe a formal assembly of members of a college since the fifteenth century. The First-Year Student Convocation, held Wednesday, August 25, at 9:00 a.m. in the Sports Arena, is a special gathering of students who are new both to college and to Buffalo State.

“First of all, we want this special convocation to welcome our new students and their parents to the Buffalo State family,” said Scott Johnson, dean of University College. University College was established in 2004 to provide freshmen with an academic home while they make the transition to college. First-year convocation, which was developed by University College, has since become an important part of introducing students to Buffalo State.

“Besides welcoming our new students,” said Johnson, “we want this convocation to introduce them to what higher education can mean. We want them to begin to understand that college is about more than taking classes and earning a degree. It’s about opening a student’s mind to learning.”

Parents are an important part of the First-Year Student Convocation. “We know that parents have huge investments—emotional as well as financial—in their children’s college educations,” said Johnson. “We want them to see how much we’re committed to their children, our students.”

About 1,500 first-year students are expected to attend the event. The brief ceremony features two speakers: President Aaron M. Podolefsky, who became president of Buffalo State on July 1, 2010; and Watoii Rabii, who received the Outstanding First-Year Student Scholarly or Creative Achievement in 2008 in recognition of superior academic work during his freshman year.

“I am looking forward to welcoming Buffalo State’s newest students as we kick off the fall semester,” said Podolefsky. “I expect that my first year at Buffalo State—and theirs—will be a great one.”

The convocation will also include the presentation of awards to three individuals.

Elizabeth Handley, Class of 2013, will receive the Outstanding First-Year Student Scholarly or Creative Achievement Award, recognizing academic work that achieved not just a high GPA (grade-point average) but also achievement beyond the traditional measure of grades, such as participation in scholarly, creative, or community service activities.

Melissa Kabak, Class of 2013, will receive the Outstanding First-Year Contribution to Student Life Award in recognition of her involvement in college life and her contribution to a student organization, club, or program.

Amitra Wall, associate professor of sociology, will receive the Outstanding Faculty Contribution to First-Year Student Success Award in recognition of her dedication to, and excellence in, teaching first-year courses.

 “We look forward to seeing these students in this same location at their commencement ceremony in 2014,” said Johnson.

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