Convocation lauds theme of change

Castleton welcomed the spring semester with words echoing the newly elected President Barack Obama’s campaign rhetoric.Spring convocation kicked off on Jan. 22 in Castleton’s Casella Theater, touting the selected theme of “Yes We Can! The Power of Change.” Students filed into theater seats to take part in the annual introduction to the spring semester.

The ceremony opened with a hearty welcome back from Castleton President David Wolk, who then asked that the audience take a moment to recognize a pair of Castleton professors whom lost their lives in recent months.

“Let us pause for a brief moment of silence in memory of Professor Linda Wiggin and Professor of Mathematics Chris White,” Wolk said.

Wolk followed with comments surrounding campus construction, adding that it has had quite an impact on the students.

“The west side of our campus has been turned upside down,” he said. “And all in the name of progress.”

He asked that students and staff have patience and flexibility when dealing with the construction.

For those worried about the economy, Wolk said that the school does not anticipate layoffs this year or next year.

“We value people over things,” he said.

Wolk also built suspense before announcing the coveted Employee of the Semester award, which ultimately went to “queen of Castleton Career Development,” Judith Carruthers.

Following Wolk’s address, Mykael Harrigan, Griff Lewis and Sophie Ryan all read speeches pertinent to the “power of change theme.” Harrigan read, “I’ve been to the mountaintop,” a speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Lewis read “Remarks to the United Steel Workers” a speech by Richard Trumka, while Ryan read, “Yes We Can,” a speech by Barack Obama.

Students and faculty had differing opinions of the ceremony after it closed.

Freshman Bridget Dusha said

“It was very inspiring,” said freshman Bridget Dusha.

Associate Academic Dean Renny Harrigan agreed.

“We’re at a particular moment in our history when we can make connections with . . . Martin Luther King and the inauguration,” said Harrigan. “[It’s] important to remember history.”

But naturally, not everyone was spellbound by the ceremony.

“It was ok,” sophomore Arica Briggs said. “Last convocation was better.

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