College welcomes historic incoming class at 2017 Convocation ceremony

SUNY New Paltz formally inaugurated the 2017-18 academic year at Fall Convocation on Aug. 25, as current students, faculty, staff and alumni gathered to cheer an incoming class of more than 2,000 new and transfer students.

“Today, our college community gathers to salute our newest students and take up its work to prepare you to excel in rapidly changing times that demand creativity and worldliness,” said President Donald P. Christian.

“You represent the latest cohort of scholars to join the New Paltz campus community. You join a long line of current and former students stretching back continuously to 1828 – about eight or nine human generations. You came here to learn about the world, learn about yourselves, and develop knowledge and intellectual abilities that will position you for life and for livelihood after you leave New Paltz. We hope that you are as excited as we are about the endeavor that you are about to undertake.”

Convocation represents an official beginning of the academic year, as college community members past and present join together to offer words of wisdom and encouragement to those just embarking on their New Paltz journeys.

“The word ‘convocation’ comes from the Latin meaning, ‘call together,’ and today we use the occasion of the new school year to call together students, campus leaders and faculty to welcome, with excitement, the year that lies ahead,” said Cyrus Mulready, assistant professor of English, who served as Faculty Grand Marshal for this year’s ceremony.

“I hope you will take this moment of anticipation and ‘calling together’ to ask: What am I called to do? What are the passions that drive me, and how will I grow them? We, the faculty at SUNY New Paltz, want your experience here to be transforming. We want you to find the unimagined route, the story you didn’t expect you would be a part of. Our doors are open to you.”

Reem Ahmed ’17 (Accounting) spoke on behalf of the student body. Ahmed drew from her years of engagement as an Honors student, peer mentor, School of Business Advisory Board member and Red Cross Club Vice President.

“When I reflect back on what I learned during my first year here, I think the best education I received was the one outside of the classroom,” Ahmed said. “At SUNY New Paltz, we have the opportunity to take on leadership roles and create the change we wish to see on campus. I recommend that all of you take advantage of this. Getting involved in the campus community is what helped me find my mentors, my best friends, and, of course, myself.”

The alumni address was offered by George J. Ramos, Jr. ’06 (Psychology), a licensed mental health counselor and recent SUNY New Paltz 40 Under Forty honoree.

“You’ll have far more control over how your New Paltz experience turns out than you realize at this moment,” Ramos said. “College is a buffet of opportunities. So many different subjects to study, people to engage with and things to learn about yourself. Push yourself to take in all the experiences available to you. Leave no stone unturned and leave no room for regret.”

The ceremony concluded with a barbeque picnic outside the Athletic & Wellness Center, where new students enjoyed a bit of R & R with faculty, staff, alumni and administrators before the hard work of the semester begins in earnest.

More information about the 2017 Convocation ceremony, including video links, can be found online.