student hold cell phone lights in the bleachers

New students hear advice, encouragement from Convocation speakers

Speakers at the Fall Convocation ceremony August 24 offered advice and encouragement to students who represent the largest and most diverse class in Grand Valley's history.

Students, faculty and staff members packed into the Fieldhouse Arena to listen to student speakers and performers, administrators and faculty. Within her remarks, President Philomena V. Mantella delivered what she called a simple message to new students.

"This is your journey, shape it however you see fit," Mantella said. "Don’t limit your dreams to majors and minors, remember these are but vehicles to line your path to your impact. Consider and reconsider regularly how each day is helping you fulfill your mission and fuel your passion. This will be a powerful frame for good choices and time well spent."

President Mantella and provost Mili in academic regalia
President Philomena V. Mantella, left, and Provost Fatma Mili stand on stage at the Fall Convocation ceremony August 24 in the Fieldhouse.
Image credit - Kendra Stanley-Mills

Six students gave advice and also reflected on their own journeys. Antonio Green, a junior majoring in human resource management, shared tips based on his experiences as a first-year student.

"When I arrived here, I realized that college had a much faster pace than I expected," Green said. "I quickly learned that in order to be successful, time management is a must. You are now the captain of your ship, your parents aren’t here to wake you up in the morning, nobody is going to make your meals for you, no one is going to remind you to study. It’s on you to learn independence, responsibility and discipline."

members of a dance troupe
Students from the Filipinx American Student Association perform a traditional folk dance.
Image credit - Kendra Stanley-Mills
student gives thumbs up
Students at the ceremony represent the largest class in GVSU history.
Image credit - Kendra Stanley-Mills

Fatma Mili, provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs, gave students what she called their "first learning experience" and explained the duties of a provost. She also introduced the faculty gathered in front of the stage, calling them "guides to your educational journey."

"This is a very special group who are experts in their fields," Mili said. "They are eager to get to know you, to walk with you as you sharpen your passions and purpose, and to empower you to articulate and realize your academic and professional dreams."

Felix Ngassa, professor of chemistry and chair of University Academic Senate, offered remarks on behalf of the faculty. Students from the Filipinx American Student Association performed a traditional folk dance and a trio of students sang “Brave” by Sara Bareilles.


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