By Spectrum Staff
With pomp and pride, Bowie State University started the new academic year with a Fall Matriculation Convocation on Sept. 17 in Meyers Auditorium in the Martin Luther King Jr. Communication Arts Center.
From the start it was clear that the Class of 2018 was the guest of honor. The center section of the 900-seat auditorium was reserved for the incoming freshmen who processed into the hall as administrators, faculty, staff and upper classmen looked on from the seats on either side of the auditorium.
The two-hour convocation opened with the posting of the colors by the BSU Army ROTC, a moment of centering by Mr. Bowie State University Rajah Hilliard, greetings by the Student Government Association President Milan Mobley and Graduate Student Association President LaVesha Huff. They were followed by the singing of “The Star Spangled Banner” and “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” by MieKayla Singleton and Michael Saunders, respectively, of the BSU Gospel Choir.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Weldon Jackson then took the podium to preside over the assembly. “We are a band of conspirators dedicated to your success,” said Jackson, speaking directly to the freshmen, who were dressed in black and white business attire. He added that the incoming freshmen should know that the entire university is working to ensure that they graduate in four years.
Jackson asked the Class of 2018 to repeat the BSU promise that states in part that students will be a loyal and contributing member to the BSU community, abide by the university’s code of conduct, recognize the full potential of their gifts and honor the university’s values of excellence, civility, integrity, diversity and accountability.
In his keynote address, BSU President Mickey L. Burnim encouraged the university’s more than 5,600 students to “get a return on their investment” by registering for 15 credit-hours each semester, attending and passing classes with good grades, taking developmental courses early in their matriculation, and taking summer and winter courses to make up any lost ground as they persist toward earning their degree in four years.
By following this course, Burnim said, students would not only graduate on time, but they would also save money in the long run. To underscore his appeal to freshmen to earn their degrees in four years, Burnim said that the cost of a four-year degree at BSU is about $30,000. However, that amount would grow to $37,000 and $44,000 after five years and six years, respectively. He also encouraged students not to borrow more money than they need for college. Finally, he cited reports stating that college graduates earn more than those with only some college and far more than those with only a high school diploma.
Following the president’s address, the BSU Concert Band played a spirited rendition of the Keith Pringle gospel song, “Call Him Up.”
After the installation of GSA and SGA officers by Dr. Artie L. Travis, vice president for Student Affairs, David Reaves of the BSU Gospel Choir led the audience in the singing of the Alma Mater. Miss Bowie State University Marissa Massey closed the ceremony with words of inspiration for a successful academic year.