CSU Freshman Convocation Speaker Named

COLUMBUS, Ga. -- A Columbus State University alumnus who just finished graduating law school with honors will be the keynote speaker at CSUs 2006 Freshman Convocation at 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 20 in CSUs Fine Arts Hall.

BobbyBobby J. Olds, now working to establish a non-profit foundation to bring legal help to Columbus working poor, said he will probably speak about the importance of new students transforming knowledge into wisdom.

Theres a lot of knowledge they can get from their professors, said Olds, 50, of Columbus. But to pursue something that makes that worthwhile, you have to acquire wisdom.

Olds, a 2003 political science graduate of CSU, said he became interested in his current legal foundation project, at least partly, because of the help he received from his CSU mentors.

Ive not lived a clean life, he said, hinting at past brushes with the law. Because of the people who really helped me -- people like (retired CSU professors) Mario Mion and Ray Gonzales and (current CSU professors) Arlene Johnson and David Wisdo -- it seems tremendously ungrateful for me not to do something like this.

Olds, who worked at the Columbus-Muscogee solicitors office while attending the University of Georgia law school, said hes also interested in helping the working poor because it seems like theres a big gap between getting the free (legal aid) and going downtown to pay $150 to $250 an hour.

Olds was chosen to speak by a committee of CSUs faculty and staff.

CSUs Freshman Convocation is a formal rite of passage thats designed to set the tone for the college careers of the CSU class of 2010 by inducting them into the CSU community of learners, said education professor Justin Finney, chair of the convocation committee.

Freshman Convocation is an opportunity for new students to develop a true connection to Columbus State and a chance to connect with future classmates, said committee member Beverly Davis, dean of CSUs University College, which coordinates services for first-year students. New students should expect convocation to be a memorable start to an exciting college experience. Our first convocation, in 2005, was well received, and we hope to build on that success.

CSU President Frank Brown, Vice President of Academic Affairs George Stanton, Vice President of Student Affairs Larry Kees, faculty and staff will use the hour-long ceremony to formally welcome freshmen and to convey the significance of the educational endeavor and the universitys commitment to support students in achieving their goals.

Olds, who spent his youth in south Columbus and attended Muscogee Elementary School, later moved to nearby Smiths, Alabama, but he maintained close ties to south Columbus. After finishing high school, he worked in the Atlanta area for a few year before returning in 1991 to Columbus, where he worked for Litho-Krome for 11 years.

His education also includes an associate degree in chemistry from Chattahoochee Valley Community College. He was CSUs Political Science Student of the Year for 2003.

Olds was active in CSUs non-partisan Students for Political Awareness and helped stage several successful SPA forums, including one concerning the differences between Islam and the West, which was televised locally. Another forum brought together leaders from the activist group School of the Americas Watch and the Fort Benning-based Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, formerly the School of the Americas. That forum, held at the RiverCenter, was televised locally and also captured the attention of National Public Radio.

A reception for freshmen will follow convocation at neighboring Davidson Student Center.