The sounds of the Washburn University Marching Blues along with a tunnel of applauding and cheering faculty and staff members welcomed a sea of new Washburn students Monday afternoon in White Concert Hall.
This event, Convocation, marked the beginning of another academic year at Washburn. It also highlighted the 150-year anniversary that the university celebrated in February.
“You need an event like this to bring the Washburn community together, especially the students and the faculty,” said Michael McGuire, Honors Program director.
New students gathered in the lobby and were guided into the auditorium by Washburn faculty and staff. The Washburn University Marching Blues provided music as new students took their seats in the auditorium.
“The music that the marching band provided was definitely my favorite part of the experience,” said Mady Mooradian, freshman at Washburn University.
As Convocation began, new students listened to a series of speakers including President Jerry Farley. Farley spoke words of encouragement to students about making the most of their Washburn experiences and becoming passionate about their learning.
“When Dr. Farley says to get involved and try things, he is right,” said Jim Martin, Washburn professor, “You may never get another chance to experience many of the things Washburn offers and you’re likely to look back someday and see how much it helped you become successful.”
A video, produced by KTWU news station, was displayed on a projector screen onstage. This video covered Washburn’s history and included interviews with Washburn alumni, students, faculty and staff.
“The video was really interesting this year with all the people they included,” said BriAnne Holthaus, sophomore student orientation counselor.
Following the video, guest speaker Gary Bayens, criminal justice professor and associate dean of the School for Applied Studies, spoke about critical thinking.
He invited three student volunteers to the stage to aid in a demonstration. Each student wrote his or her definition of critical thinking on a piece of poster-board.
Each student revealed his or her answers. The first student wrote “reasoning,” the second had “solutions to problems” and the third had written “GO BODS.”
As convocation ended, new students exited through a tunnel of Washburn personnel on their way to the campus picnic in Memorial Union.
“This beginning experience foreshadows the same kind of positive feeling these students will feel during their final experience at Washburn, which will be when they graduate,” McGuire said.