Rain can’t block this sky full of stars at opening convocation

The academic procession to open the 2014—2015 academic year became more of an academic sprint through the rain, but that did not disrupt the 110th opening convocation of St. Catherine University.

Working from the theme, “I Am St. Catherine: Stories that Connect Us,” the opening convocation saw faculty, alumna and student speakers sharing the stories that connect them to St. Kate’s.

“I liked that there were a lot of speakers,” said Adelaide Mueller, a second year Occupational Therapy and Music Studies major who attended the opening convocation. “None of them spoke for very long, so it never got boring.”

In addition to multiple speakers, various forms of media livened up this year’s opening convocation, from the traditional Hymn of St. Catherine, sung by all present, to videos, including the music video to Coldplay’s song “A Sky Full of Stars” and “I Am St. Catherine: Stories that Connect Us,” a video abounding with members of the St. Kate’s community.

Executive Vice President and Provost Colleen Hegranes, opened the convocation with a reminder that students should claim their education, and that, like Coldplay’s “Sky Full of Stars,” as a university, we are a powerful community.

Student Senate President Soua Chang (’15) cited the St. Kate’s community as a major inspiration for her extensive involvement at the university, and encouraged students to take initiative like she did.

“I wanted to meet people, I wanted to go places, and that wasn’t going to happen if I stayed in my room,” Chang said. “I challenge [students] to do something different this year.”

Associate Professor of Theology and Sister Mona Riley Endowed Chair of the Humanities, Colleen Carpenter, said Catholic intellectual tradition is about being astonished and fearless. Following this tradition, said Carpenter, will show people you are a Katie.

Other speakers at the convocation included Associate Professor Deborah Churchill and Associate Professor Elizabeth Otto. Churchill advocated for Citizen Katie, an annual day of service across the St. Kate’s community. Citizen Katie, which will be held October 18th, is at its tenth anniversary this year. Otto urged students to connect with St. Kate’s alums, who she says are among the greatest resources available to students.

The opening convocation ended with the 2014 Bonnie Jean Kelly and Joan Kelly Award for Faculty Excellence being awarded to Nutrition and Exercise Science Department chair, Mark Blegen. Among other achievements, Blegen has overseen an 86% increase in enrollment for the Exercise Science program since becoming chair.

Opening convocation’s focus on “Stories that Connect Us” is a reminder to students as the 2014-2015 academic year opens that being a member of St. Kate’s extends beyond the classroom.

Taylor can be reached at tcharwood@stkate.edu.

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