The keynote speaker at any major event always has the most important message for the audience.
That was certainly the case at Clayton State University’s Ninth Annual New Student Convocation, held on Friday, Aug. 15 in world-famous Spivey Hall. Naturally enough, the keynote speaker to a packed house of incoming freshmen, faculty, administrators and staff, was Clayton State President Dr. Thomas Hynes.
“Our goal is to have your dreams made real,” he said in the opening of his keynote address.
Now, that wasn’t all the president said, but he clearly set the tone for the ceremony right from the start... all of the assembled Clayton State faculty, administration and staff are part of the University’s student-centered culture that is designed to make dreams real.
The New Student Convocation is a time when faculty, staff and all new students assemble to mark the beginning of a new academic year. New Student Convocation is a formal ceremony intended to inspire, motivate and officially welcome new students. As has been traditional, Hynes offered encouraging words to incoming students and the campus community during the ceremony.
In addition to stating the University’s goal to make dreams real, Hynes also offered the new students congratulations (“You’re now party of Georgia’s economy of the future.”), reasons why they should finish what they’ve started (“We want you to be a part of Georgia’s future.”) and some advice to improve the students’ chances of completing their degrees. Hynes was also quick to point out that the latter advice was not the view from the mountaintop, but consisted of observations from previous first-year Clayton State students who have succeeded.
These observations fell into three categories; academic advice (“Show up to class on time and study hard.”), general well-being advice (“Consider your career plans and watch the use of social media.”) and personal well-being advice (“Use technology to monitor and manage your activities. Take care of yourself and each other.”)
Hynes’ message was echoed by the rest of the Clayton State administration.
“You are ready to start your journey to make your dreams real,” said Dr. Mark F. Daddona, associate vice president for Enrollment Management & Academic Success.
“Between matriculation and graduation, you have an incredible journey,” added Dr. Kevin Demmitt, interim provost and voce president for Academic Affairs.
“We are here to support you to achieve your dreams and your goals,” said Dr. Elaine Manglitz, vice president of Student Affairs.
Of course, the president also had the last word.
“To be part of this community gives you the opportunity to make your dreams real,” said Hynes in closing.