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New Student Convocation welcomes incoming first-year class

Darian O'Donnell/THE GATEPOST

By Julia Sarcinelli

News Editor

Director of First-Year Programs Ben Trapanick presented Elaine Beilin with the Dr. Robert A. Martin Outstanding First-Year Advocate Award at the New Student Convocation on September 2nd.

New Student Convocation is a Framingham State tradition at which faculty and administration gather in academic robes to celebrate new students.

President F. Javier Cevallos welcomed the new freshmen, transfer and study abroad students at the New Student Convocation. He said he understands the position of the new students, still being somewhat new to the institution himself.

Cevallos complimented the hard work and accomplishments of the freshmen so far, and said at FSU, they can expect “to face new and exciting challenges,” and if they work hard, they can achieve personal and academic success.

He said students will have opportunities to thrive with the help of strong support structures, such as CASA for classwork help.

“CASA is a wonderful resource,” Cevallos said, adding that it is a helpful resource for new students, especially if they become overwhelmed by classwork.

Cevallos added students should visit Career Services and Employer Relations for resume assistance, job searches and internships. “My hope is that all of you will complete an internship within your time at FSU. ...We are fortunate to be located in the heart of the Metro West, which allows you to intern at nearby Fortune 500 companies.”

Cevallos advised students to be active in the FSU community. “Get involved through varsity sports, internships, student government or one of more than 50 clubs and organizations on campus.”

He told students they should view professors as an important resource for any questions they might have because they are there to help. “If you don’t know who to ask,” he said, “send me an email and I will personally reply to your message and forward your question to the appropriate office.”

Cevallos said Framingham State places “a strong emphasis on having a welcoming, inclusive and diverse community where everyone respects each other.” He encouraged students to go to the Center for Inclusive Excellence to learn about different cultural and academic events throughout the year.

Renowned scholars, performers and journalists also come to campus for talks on diversity, among other topics, in a series called Arts and Ideas, said Cevallos.

He said FSU is a great community that wants everyone to succeed. “There is nothing I would like more than to hand everyone in here a diploma four years from now.”

Trapanick said, “This is one of the traditions at Framingham State: Convocation. And the second is recognizing a member of the Framingham State community who has worked tirelessly to create an environment for first-year students to succeed.”

“Given the statistics and the research that show the difficulties that exist in transitioning to life at a college setting, Framingham State felt it was important that we recognize people that are outstanding enough to help first-year students succeed,” he said.

He added that Beilin is “an excellent teacher” who is dedicated to learning new teaching methods and mentoring colleagues.

Beilin said she was humbled to receive the award, which “honors Dr. Robert A. Martin, our former vice president for academic affairs and interim president, someone I deeply admire for his dedication to and strong support of academic excellence at Framingham State and for his kind, amiable and deeply humane way of being in the world. I learned much from working with and watching him.”

She said mentors can help to guide and support, referencing how the goddess Athena, disguised as “Mentor” in “The Odyssey,” helped Telemachos when he was nervous about the task before him by giving advice and encouragement. “Students, a journey is ahead of you and you need shipmates to stand beside and guide you,” she said.

Choosing the people who are one’s role models and guides on the new “voyage” is important, said Beilin, and advised first-year students to seek out mentors in student leaders, professors and Foundations peer mentors, along with friends and family.

“Sometimes it is formal. She or he is a thoughtful, supportive guide ... and sometimes, mentorship is informal, perhaps even unspoken. You’ve watched someone do his or her job around the university, or you see the way a junior major in your department discusses ideas in class.

“I’ve been trying to pass it on to others,” she said. “And that’s the final thing I want to say to you today: choose your mentors well, and before you conclude your Framingham journey, please step up and become a mentor. I wish you all the best on this exciting and challenging voyage.”

Along with Beilin, the Distinguished Faculty Awards were acknowledged by Dr. Linda Vaden-Goad, vice president for academic affairs.

The recipients are: Mary-Ann Stadtler-Chester for Excellence in Teaching; Emmanouil Apostolidis for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Work; Carolyn Maibor for Service; and Ira Silver for Advising/Mentoring. They will all host a special program in November to talk about their work.

Vaden-Goad advised students to get involved in the various opportunities Framingham State offers, such as studying abroad, sports, and clubs and organizations.

“Rise up and become a significant part of this place. You have chosen it, and now make it different and make it better. ...We are excited with you about the start of this new year and equally excited about the ways you will transform this university and this university community together,” she said.

Dean of Enrollment Management, Jeremy Spencer, also said students should be excited about the journey ahead of them.

According to Spencer, there will be about approximately 850 first-year students and 375 transfer students.

“To put this in perspective, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions processed around 6,000 first year and transfer applications,” he said. “Framingham State continues to be a popular destination for prospective students, and we are very excited to have you as part of our community.”

Spencer then asked the students to cheer in response to the most popular names, majors, hometowns and home states in their class.

Spencer said that while over 90 percent of students are from the state of Massachusetts, this year there also students from California, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Virginia and Vermont.

He added that international students studying at Framingham State this year come from Italy, Spain, Uganda, Nigeria, Grenada, Switzerland, Sweden and Vietnam.

“I hope you enjoyed that small snapshot of the entering class,” said Spencer. “It is important to know in my brief overview I did not highlight individual accomplishments. You have all experienced accomplishments that we expect you to continue here as members of the Framingham State community.”

Daniel Costello, president of Student Government Association, also challenged incoming students to push themselves in new ways, befriend people and learn from professors. He said it is up to the freshmen and transfers to make their own path despite feelings of unease, which he described as “a little fear but mostly excited about where the unknown path ahead will lie, and it is your turn to decide where that path ahead will lead.”

Costello said during his freshman year, he didn’t know he would change his major or become SGA president, and new students should write their own stories. He advised them to follow the school’s motto, “Live to the truth.

“If you live your life truly to your values, your chapter here at Framingham State will be one of the greatest.”

Freshman Meghan Donovan said she enjoyed New Student Convocation and the barbecue held after in Crocker Grove. “It was nice to hear what faculty and sta[ said.”

Kandyce Langkius, a freshman, said she liked Convocation because it made her feel more comfortable at FSU. “I liked that they talked a lot about how they’re mostly here to help us. I liked that a lot. It made me feel more welcome to come to the school and that it’s a new thing but it’s accepting.”

Freshman Aaliyah Colon said, “I wasn’t expecting the applause from faculty but it was cool. I liked Ben Trapanick’s speech because we know him and he was energetic. I also liked the president of SGA’s speech.”


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