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Academic Convocation Set for Aug. 28

 Academic Convocation Set for Aug. 28

07/21/2011 

SUNY Cortland Academic Convocation Sets Tone for Year of Study

As a 163-year-old institution of higher education, SUNY Cortland is steeped in many traditions lost but fondly remembered and one in particular that was revived in 2003 from its earliest years: Academic Convocation.

First-year students and upper class members gather the day before classes start for the solemn opening ceremony laden with Medieval symbolism that marks their primary, scholarly purpose for being on campus.

This traditional ceremony echoes with its regalia-clad faculty processions the spring Commencement ceremony. The formal display of pomp and circumstance was developed from a recommendation by the College’s Cultural and Intellectual Climate Committee. The annual event is coordinated through the President’s Office.

“Academic Convocation at SUNY Cortland marks the beginning of a student’s academic journey,” said SUNY Cortland President Erik J. Bitterbaum. “An important milestone, the event affords faculty and staff the opportunity to formally welcome incoming students to the College. In addition, the ceremony reflects the supportive role of the entire campus community in ensuring academic achievement.”

The College will open its 2011-12 academic year with the ceremony on Sunday afternoon, Aug. 28, in the Park Center Alumni Arena.

Susan Wilson
Susan Wilson, associate professor of recreation, parks and leisure studies, will deliver the Academic Convocation address.

All first-year and new transfer students, along with the SUNY Cortland faculty, librarians and professional staff, are invited to participate in this hour-long event, which will begin at 4 p.m.

“Academic Convocation at SUNY Cortland marks the beginning of a student’s academic journey,” said SUNY Cortland President Erik J. Bitterbaum. “An important milestone, the event affords faculty and staff the opportunity to formally welcome incoming students to the College. In addition, the ceremony reflects the supportive role of the entire campus community in ensuring academic achievement.”

The Academic Convocation processional begins with the all-college gonfalonier, who leads in the faculty, followed by the Schools of Arts and Sciences, Professional Studies and Education gonfaloniers. Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Mark Prus will carry the all-college gonfalon, while the gonfalons representing the College’s three schools will be carried by Andrea Lachance, interim dean of the School of Education; R. Bruce Mattingly, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences; and John Cottone, dean of the School of Professional Studies.

The processional concludes when the mace bearer brings in the platform party, which consists of members of the College’s administration and faculty leadership, the College Council, visiting dignitaries and honorees. Michael Berzonsky, distinguished professor of psychology, will carry the mace, a ceremonial staff used as a symbol of authority.

Susan Wilson, associate professor of recreation, parks and leisure studies, will deliver the Academic Convocation address. Speakers will include Bitterbaum; Prus; senior Jamie Piperato, president of the Student Government Association; senior Kelsey Baylinson; and Robert Howe, representing the Cortland College Foundation.

A photographic and video montage of SUNY Cortland created by Rebecca Job, a 2009 graduate in communication studies, will be shown prior to the ceremony. Performing Arts Department Associate Professor (Music) Karen Zimmerman will provide the processional and recessional music. Junior speech and hearing science major Kalia Brown will sing the National Anthem and junior musical theatre major Annali Alexander Fuchs will sing the Alma Mater. Several returning students have volunteered to serve as student marshals.

The concept for an opening academic convocation, modeled after a ceremony held during the College’s earlier years, was developed from a recommendation by the College’s Cultural and Intellectual Climate Committee. The tradition, restarted in 2003, is coordinated through the President’s Office. An academic convocation website can be found at www2.cortland.edu/events/academic-convocation/.

For more information, contact the President’s Office at (607) 753-2202.