Fall Convocation Marks Official Opening of New School Year
By Jocelyn Jones
Bowie State University officially opened the 2009-2010 academic year during its Fall Convocation on Sept. 23 in Samuel L. Myers Auditorium in the Martin Luther King Jr. Communication Arts Center building.
The 10 a.m. ceremony opened with the selection "In Storm and Sunshine" performed by the BSU orchestra under the direction of Prof. Adolph Wright. There were many faculty, staff, students and alumni who filled the hall to capacity. Featured students onstage included Mr. Bowie State University Bryant Stewart, Student Government Association president Kirk Pressley, Student Government Association vice president Nayonna Wright, Graduate Student Association president Kelichi Anyanwu and student athletes Corey Stevens and Maya Newman.
The purpose of convocation is to provide opportunities to announce goals for the year and to inspire students, faculty and staff to achieve them. The new school year marks an improvement in student retention as there are more students returning to Bowie State University than ever before in its 144-year history. There are 5,618 enrolled students this year alone some 137 more students than last year.
During his remarks, Dr. Roosevelt Newson, provost and vice president of academic affairs, described the significance of the various academic regalia worn by faculty members. The robes worn display the faculty's commitment to learning and serve as a reminder that a solid education is what they must pass on to their students. The robes' origins date back to the 12th and 13th centuries, he said. The style of the gown comes from the educational degree and the traditional color is black or the individual school colors they had came from. The doctoral robe has three velvet bars and colors of the degree they had received on the hood edging.
Bowie State University President Mickey L. Burnim reminded the audience of the university's five core values: excellence, integrity, civility, diversity and accountability. "Strive for excellence at everything you do and be civil in all of your interactions with other people. Inspire change; it is a new year to learn to improve yourself with excellence and civility."
Dr. Burnim said that here at Bowie State University there is a great deal of pride and students wear their colors proudly. This university is the home of the Bulldogs. What is the significance of a bulldog? A bulldog is very affectionate, dependable, gentle, determined, persistent, and does not give up easily. They are known for their courage and have excellent guarding abilities.
In the last two years, the university has met or exceeded its enrollment targets, Dr. Burnim said. The University System of Maryland has designated Bowie State as a growth institution, which will result in stronger affiliations with alumni that lead to more involvement and giving, upholding the Bowie State University Foundation, launching new degree programs, and other initiatives.
Dr. Burnim encouraged students to be more attentive in the classroom and in turning in assignments on time. "We need to embrace our core values. Do your very best on every assignment. Have goals, plan each semester's course load accordingly, and work hard."