Opening Convocation for Freshmen to Start New Tradition at CSU

On the eve of the fall 2005 semester, Columbus State University will launch a new tradition targeting its incoming freshman students.

CSUs first Opening Convocation, from 4-5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 21 in Fine Arts Hall, will provide this years freshman class with a meaningful rite of passage that elevates a sense of belonging, said CSU University College Dean Beverly Davis.

Moreover, the objective is to help improve retention and graduation rates while setting the tone for the students college careers by inducting them in the CSU community of learners, Davis added.

CSU President Frank Brown said the event will be an annual tradition. The convocation is the beginning of another in a series of traditions at CSU, traditions, which, when woven together, provide a tapestry of ceremonies, events and symbolic occasions which are part of the life of a university.

The event will be staged similarly to a graduation ceremony. Many of an approximate 160 participating faculty and administrators will dress in full, academic regalia. In effect, the students will get an introduction to the CSU community of scholars while they get a sense of the size, strength and identity of their class, said Davis.

The gathering of scholars, by their participation, indicate their commitment to our students and their interest in the ultimate success of those who are a part of the CSU community of learners. Its a wonderful display of support, Brown added.

Additionally, Dr. Emory Alexander, a 1974 CSU alumnus and founder of the River City Orthopaedics and Spine Center in Columbus, will deliver a convocation address.

CSU officials anticipate a near-capacity gathering in the Fine Arts Hall auditorium. In case of an overflow crowd, a closed-circuit video feed of the event will be shown in a nearby location.

During this summers orientation sessions, the freshmen have been encouraged to participate in the event. It is vitally important that beginning freshmen recognize that college life and the added value it brings plays an enormous role in their intellectual and civic development, Brown said.

Davis describes the opening convocation concept for college freshmen as a recent, national trend, with CSU among the first University System of Georgia institutions to adopt it. Meanwhile CSUs Schwob School of Music has staged a similar, smaller-scale opening convocation for new, music majors since 2002 at the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts. This years event, scheduled for Aug. 26 in Legacy Hall, is designed for all music students in addition to Schwob faculty/staff and patrons. This years music-major freshmen are expected to attend both convocations.

The campuswide opening convocation will be followed by a reception including refreshments and hors doeuvres on the Davidson Center second floor, sponsored by the CSU Division of Student Affairs.

The event is made possible by donors to CSUs Investment in People capital campaign. The campaign, which will wrap up this fall, has logged more than $85 million in gifts and pledges to date, about $12 million of which is in deferred gifts, such as wills.

TRANSITION WEEK AUG. 14-21

Opening Convocation represents a conclusion to Transition Week for new freshmen. Student Life and CSUs First Year Experience Program in University College coordinates a week of activities to help prepare new freshmen for their first year at CSU:

Sunday: Luau and Cookout, 5 p.m. Courtyard I Volleyball Court
Monday: The Ultimate Road Trip: Campus to Career, 4 p.m. presentation in the Davidson Auditorium
Monday: Movie Night, 7 p.m. Peachtree Cinemas
Tuesday: Taste of CSU Cookout presented by student organizations and CSU Dining Services , 5 p.m. Courtyard I
Wednesday: How to Survive College Outside the Classroom, 5 p.m. presentation in the Davidson Auditorium. Ice cream social to follow
Thursday: Skate Night, 7 p.m. Hollywood Connection
Friday: Karaoke Night, 7 p.m. Courtyard I
Sunday: Opening Convocation, 4 p.m.

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For more information, contact: Lane Brooks, 568-2330; E-mail: brooks_lane@ColumbusState.edu