At the beginning of a new school year, our students arrive on campus with hopes and dreams of new possibilities, as do our faculty and staff.
This year, we welcome 3,257 undergraduate students, who come from all 50 states in the Union and 29 countries, and 254 graduate students from 19 countries. No matter where they come from, at some level, all students share similar aspirations and trepidations.
To constructively channel the energies of our freshmen, MSU, like other universities, holds a convocation ceremony. Unlike commencement, which celebrates the finish, convocation is an attempt to bottle the nervous energy at the starting line. Yet, this nervous energy is the stuff that propels us to set and accomplish new goals every year. Convocation also is a reminder that our journey on campus is more like a marathon rather than a sprint. Resolve, patience and tenacity are integral to success and not all of our students arrive on campus equipped with these attributes.
Sure, some of our students are among the best in the country and can deal with any challenge; but we also have students who need assistance and help. Some of our students are third-generation Spartans, whose parents and grandparents graduated from MSU. Others are first-generation students whose parents have never set foot on a college campus. We have students from East Lansing who practically grew up on campus. We also have students who grew up in China or Korea, who have to master a new language even as they learn to navigate a vast, new campus.
It is our charge to make the ComArtSci experience meaningful and special for each of these students. It is our responsibility to turn each aspiring student into a contributing citizen. It is our obligation to make ComArtSci a warm and welcoming community that allows student to realize their dreams.
For generations, we have fulfilled this mission and launched many success stories. One such success is Mario McLean who graduated in May. Mario had to deal with great adversity as a teenager. He came to ComArtSci in search of an education. He left with a sense of accomplishment, victorious in his pursuit, as the student speaker at commencement with a speech that received a standing ovation at the Breslin, and with a job in sales management immediately after graduation. In his commencement speech, he attributed his success to the caring community of friends, faculty and mentors at MSU.
Each student’s journey may not end with a standing ovation at the Breslin or resonate in our collective memory as a clutch three-pointer or touchdown. But each student’s journey will be a strong and distinct thread, which when woven together makes up the rich tapestry of what we refer to as the Spartan experience. Go Green!