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New Student Convocation, 10 am, Thursday, August 23, 2012

President Jay Kahn, Convocation 2012
Keene State College President, Jay Kahn, welcomes the class of 2016.

Good morning! I'm Jay Kahn and for this academic year, I am President of Keene State College. On behalf of our entire campus community, I extend a warm welcome to the Keene State College Class of 2016. We have been planning for your arrival. As your new mentors, professors, friends, and colleagues, we are committed to making this a transformative experience for you.

Our school motto says, "Enter to Learn, Go forth to Serve." With the procession, the clapping-in, and the fanfare, you have entered to learn. We acknowledge you as part of a celebrated academic institution. Let me tell you a little about it.

Our mission as a liberal arts college is this:

To prepare promising students to think critically and creatively, to engage in active citizenship, and to pursue meaningful work.

Our highest priority is academic excellence and student success. Everyone on this campus is committed to helping you succeed. We have outstanding undergraduate research programs, many and diverse connections with the business community, and a history of community service that builds character, civility, and respect.

The poet Carl Sandburg said "Nothing happens unless first a dream." We believe that Keene State is an outstanding college to develop your dreams and the skills necessary to accomplish them. We offer a transformative experience, but these must be your dreams.

You must be doing this for yourself. It must be your goals you are pursuing, your vision that leads you. Remember last night on the Fiske Quad, Dillon's two words of advice—Embracere Everything! My desire for you is Be Amazing! We pledge to support you on your journey with exceptional academic programs and a caring and committed faculty and staff.

Keene State is a very engaging community and the relationships formed here with faculty, staff, and fellow students will endure a lifetime. We know what leads to student success:

  • Remember above all else, Keene State College is an academic community. We value curiosity and inquiry. Talk with faculty, fellow students, and your family about what you're learning, about an inspiring performance or informative lecture.
  • We are not always talking at you. You are the problem solvers.
  • Get to know your faculty, advisers, and coaches. They will lead you through your academic programs to internships, research projects, and they are your life coaches.
  • Join a student organization. This is how you meet upper class students. They are your role models for what you can become.
  • If you live in a residence hall talk with your RA, they are your mentors. And whether you live on campus or not, get to know the staff. Students report in national surveys that Keene State is a very supportive campus environment. We are here to help you succeed.
  • Focus. Why are you at KSC, what do you want from your KSC experience. If you don't find it here, create it -- your own major, a student organization, a service project. Academic advisors and student affairs staff are here to assist you.
  • If you are here because you want to party every day, you have misjudged this college. You will ultimately leave KSC without a degree.
  • Don't fall behind in your courses, don't drop courses; if you do either, you are not likely to complete your degree. Find the academic help centers soon, not on the day before the test.
  • Use campus resources to stay fit so you can be ready for class– the counseling center, the health center, the recreation center.
  • Don't throw yourself off track because you're away from home and have greater independence. This is not a casual journey you are on. A few weeks into the semester, faculty will give mid-term grades in your ITW classes, report on class attendance issues, and identify students at academic risk, or who have made poor social or time management decisions. We will be watching your progress right from the start, using analytics and our own data and resources to get you on track and keep you there.

Early on, students with undecided majors will participate in academic and career counseling to give structure to your academic plan and keep attainable your college degree in four years. How many of you are undecided about your major? See, you're not alone. Even at Stanford University, the two most popular majors are "I don't know" or "I changed my mind!"

Keene State College continues to be an attractive school for first generation college students. I am the first in my family to attend college and I know it is truly helpful to have a cohort of others in the same boat. About 40 percent of your class fall into this category.

Ask yourself, why are you here? What do you see yourself doing after graduation? Take a moment to reflect on these words from Martin Luther King, Jr. – "An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individual concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity." This is a place to explore the broader concerns and now is the time to start on the path to global interests.

140 of your fellow KSC students are studying abroad this academic year -- from Italy to Australia, Bostwana to Japan, and numerous locations in between. These students are taking advantage of the global connections and networks that Keene State College has around the world.

I saw you last night on Fiske Quad with your Resident Assistants and Orientation Staff? You are amazing! Make them your contacts, friend them, meet with them, join organizations they lead. When you graduate, you will need to exceed the expectations they set. Be amazing!

With the privilege of being a member of this community comes responsibility. We recognize that you are adults; you must acknowledge the College's values. We expect that you will show respect for one another, for one another's property and well-being. There is no place for hurtful speech or actions here.

We have countless reasons to be proud of our students and I'm confident that will continue with you, the newest members of our community.

Architecture student's story—mentoring architecture students over the past four years. Four came to my office. I asked them what concerns they had about their future. One responded, "It's the students in the class behind us. They're so good, I worry they'll have better skills when they enter the workplace."

Class of 2016, I promise, if you engage this campus community openly, you will be transformed in mind and character, prepared for active citizenry and meaningful careers. You have 1400 days at Keene State College and maybe a summer semester added in. Make the most of every day. Bring it. Have pride in your College, faith in your future. Be curious. Be healthy in mind and body. Connect with professors, staff, and students.

This is your moment; this is your College. Once again, I say Welcome!


Updated: August 30, 2012 KSC Photos on SmugMug Subscribe to the KSC RSS news feed Keene State on Facebook Keene State on Twitter Keene State on YouTube

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