Convocation: A new year, a new beginning

The Class of 2021 posed for a photo outside Memorial Union before heading into White Concert Hall for Convocation.

Brooklyn Wiens

Freshman across campus came together Aug. 21 for the annual Convocation, an event to welcome first-year students to campus as they begin their paths as Ichabods.

Washburn President Jerry Farley, Washburn Student Government President Alexis Simmons and Lori Edwards, assistant professor of nursing, each spoke at this year’s Convocation. Together, they provided students with information on success, passion, leadership and independence in college.

Farley, who is celebrating his 20th year as president of Washburn University, stressed the importance of community and ambition.  

“When you became a part of this Washburn community, you started yourself down a pathway which will lead you to becoming an educated citizen in our country,” Farley said.

Next, Edwards told a personal story about her own rocky upbringing of being bounced between foster homes as a child. She said her education was the defining, positive turning point in her life.

“Start anywhere, go everywhere, work hard, do your best and give back,” Edwards said.

Alexis Simmons was the last speaker to take the stage and she shared how the Washburn faculty helped her overcome her fears as a freshman.

“There is a culture at Washburn, a sense of community or family that brings us together,” Simmons said.

Students were touched by the speakers’ words of advice and their personal stories told at Convocation.

“The speakers showed commitment towards Washburn,” said Avery Schrader, freshman occupational therapy major. “I would come again and would suggest that all freshman attend.”

Sheldon Haynes, sophomore psychology major, was impressed with the amount of knowledge that was shown on the stage.

“We are all starting our future today,” Haynes said. “Those who spoke today show a sense of achievement that is unobservable anywhere else. These are very talented and educated people who want the best for us.”

Baylie Bowser, freshman art education major, said she was trying to attend everything on campus, but was drawn to the opportunity to hear President Farley speak.

“Convocation really opens up your eyes to the seriousness of school and the importance of your education,” Bowser said.

As classes start, hopefully the words of those esteemed speakers resonate within the new and returning students.

“This is a time to mold, perhaps to shape, perhaps to refine your beliefs and how you think about the world around you,” Farley said. “Discover new things about yourself and find your life’s progression while you’re here at Washburn.”