Opening convocation highlights goals for a successful school year


Zartasha Sani

President Greg Gunderson speaks to students at 2018 opening convocation

Zartasha Sani, Reporter

The message at opening convocation for the 2018 school year focused on involvement within Park University and the Parkville community. Opening convocation, an annual gathering was held on August 17 in Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel.

There were several guest speakers, including the mayor of Parkville, Nan Johnston, Chair of the Board of Trustees, Scott McRuer, Associate Professor of Education and President of the Faculty Senate, Amy Wolf, Ph.D., and Park Student Government Association President Jesse Patrick. All emphasized the importance of stepping out of the comfort zone and becoming involved in collegiate life.
Johnston used the city of Parkville as an example to express the importance of getting involved in the community.

“Cities are only as good as the people who live in them; who care about their neighbors and have a unified idea of what their community should be. Fortunately in Parkville, many of our residents are involved in activities that make it such a great place to live,” said Johnston.

Jesse Patrick, PSGA president, shared his own story about being a freshman. He spoke about a time where he did not know anyone at the university and how he stepped out of his comfort zone, which helped him become the person he is today.

“If you feel like everyone is a stranger, I encourage you to get out of your comfort zone, and if you feel like everyone is a stranger at least you now know someone; you know me,” said Patrick.

Park University President, Greg Gunderson, Ph.D., echoed the message of the other speakers. He provided students with three pieces of advice for a successful school year.

“While your minds are expanding, there are three things I want you to get: I want you to get tough, I want you to get to know your faculty, and I want you to get involved,” said Dr. Gunderson.

Dr. Gunderson went on to talk about the hardships and transition of college life and how it is important to form bonds with peers and faculty members to lean on and learn from.

“Park has a dedicated group of educators and administrative staff who will guide you through the curriculum, help you navigate university life and perhaps give you insight to the world beyond higher education,” said Dr. Gunderson. “We want to know you. We want to support you. And we want you to succeed.”

Convocation ended with a video of the 2017 graduating class passing on advice to new students. From support to maintaining good relationships, getting enough sleep and drinking lots of water, graduates offered guidance for the incoming class.

In closing, Dr. Gunderson encouraged students to use the motivation that got them this far to help guide them throughout the rest of the semester.

“Your efforts during these first few weeks will set the tone for the months to follow. I encourage you to start this the way would finish it,” said Dr. Gunderson.

Watch Live Stream Convocation Here