Annual Convocation at New Paltz Welcomes Incoming Students

NEW PALTZ — Note to editors: This event is open to media. Please see note at end of document for details.

SUNY New Paltz will hold its annual Convocation at noon on August 24 in Julien J. Studley Theatre, located in the Old Main Building.

Convocation is a formal welcoming ceremony for incoming and transfer students, with a focus on the academic experience at the university. The students and their families are introduced to the intellectual expectations and values that support the SUNY New Paltz community of scholars.

Julio Gonzalez, associate professor of computer and electrical engineering, will give the Convocation address. His speech is titled “On the Vital Importance of Gaining Knowledge.”

“I don’t exaggerate with the word ‘vital’,” said Gonzalez, who believes that the acquisition of knowledge is essential for survival, and that technology has historically been, and will continue to be, the means which makes human life possible.

“But we don’t think about this so philosophically. We learn because it’s fun. We fall in love with a topic,” he explained.

Because Gonzalez feels that gaining knowledge is so vital, his teaching methods have been extremely successful. His commitment and methods were recognized in May when he was awarded the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. His selection to deliver the Convocation address further recognizes his positive impact, as the program represents students’ first formal academic event at New Paltz.

Gonzalez, who joined the faculty at SUNY New Paltz in 1993, is a teacher whose classes are very academically challenging, involving current recent research in the field, and rooted in real world applications. His style engages his students, and he is an expert in making his topic comprehensible to students of differing abilities.

Gonzalez is a resource for his students in and out of the classroom. One way in which he serves them is through the Scholars’ Mentorship Program, which encourages academic achievement and positive social adjustments of historically underrepresented students. He also extends his outreach to students through projects under his guidance which often result in conference presentation and publication, and undergraduate research initiatives with applications to the workplace.

Another feature of the annual Convocation ceremony is the bestowal of SUNY New Paltz’ Outstanding Student Service Awards to two university staff members. This year, the awards will go to Robin Cohen, the associate dean of Student Development and Roy Kinstrey, a member of the custodial staff that serves the Old Library Building.

This award publicly recognizes and encourages outstanding service by staff who enhance student retention and success. The Outstanding Student Service Award Committee makes the awards based on nominations and letters of support primarily from students.

Convocation participants will include President Roger Bowen; Provost David Lavallee; the presiding officer of the faculty, Rose Rudnitski; Student Association president Raymond Ballinger; and SUNY New Paltz faculty.

Note to editors: Media wishing to attend this event should contact the SUNY New Paltz Public Affairs Office at 257-3245 by August 23 for parking instructions, arrive at the event by 11:30 a.m., and see the event coordinator, Judy Costa, or the public affairs director, Ken Ross, for a press pass prior to entering the building.

A photograph of the Convocation speaker, Julio Gonzalez, can be found online at the following address after August 14: