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08/19/2013

Academic Convocation Opens School Aug. 25

SUNY Cortland will open its 2013-14 academic year with the pomp and circumstance of the Academic Convocation on Sunday afternoon, Aug. 25, in the Park Center Alumni Arena.

All first-year and new transfer students, along with the SUNY Cortland faculty, librarians and professional staff, are invited to participate in this hourlong 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 SUNY Cortland’s three schools will be carried by Andrea Lachance, 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. Robert Darling, distinguished teaching professor of geology, will carry the mace, a ceremonial staff used as a symbol of authority.

Kevin Halpin, associate professor of performing arts, will deliver the Academic Convocation address. Speakers will include Bitterbaum; Prus; and senior Leighmarie Weber, president of the Student Government Association; senior business economics major Connor Berg and junior childhood education major Boyan Cox; and a representative of the Cortland College Foundation.

Marina Gorelaya will provide the processional and recessional music. Senior sociology major Deston Hudson will sing the national anthem, and senior musical theatre major Melissa Pipher 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 Cortland’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 cortland.edu/academic-convocation.