Hannah Collings – Staff Writer
CLARION, Pa.- Clarion University celebrated and honored its outstanding graduate students, those receiving academic scholarships and recognition on the Dean’s List at the Academic Convocation this past Sunday.
Master of ceremonies Dr. Joseph Croskey opened the convocation by recognizing the “love of family members” as a contribution to students’ academic success. Croskey asked attending parents to stand and be honored for their support of their students’ educations.
Dr. Todd Pfannestiel opened the event by telling the students, “Just as a brief reminder, you still have a lot of great work to do.”
Pfannestiel told a fictional story where, out of all the inventions in the world, the pencil was judged the greatest. Pfannestiel said a pencil’s purpose is to make a mark on paper, it is equipped with an eraser to fix mistakes it makes, and its worth is not in its outward appearance, but rather in what is inside it.
Like pencils, Pfannestiel said, “from now on forward, you need to leave your mark,” and that students should not be afraid to make mistakes because they have the ability to correct them.
Both student speaker, Natalia Naranjo and Communications Professor James Lyle, echoed this theme.
Naranjo told a story of her worries that she would “fail” if she did not have a job immediately after her impending graduation. Naranjo said, “I started living my life in the moment.”
Naranjo said she decided her future did not define her past, or how hard she has worked during her four years in school. Naranjo reflected rather on what a great accomplishment in itself her May 13 graduation is for her and her family members who have helped her prepare for this her entire life.
“I did not come here alone,” Naranjo said. “I believe that none of us at Clarion can make it through alone.”
Naranjo will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology and minors in political science and women and gender studies.
Lyle said he wanted to “operationally define failure” as “an investment of energy that fails to produce the intended result.” He continued that student should accept failure as an opportunity to grow rather than fearing it.
Lyle then spoke a list of well-known successful people that initially faced difficulty and failure in their lives; Oprah Winfrey, J.K. Rowling, Keith Moon and Steve Jobs. According to Lyle, student should not fear failure, but rather should accept it and learn to grow in adaptability and learn to make themselves “as marketable as possible,” and develop a “posture of curiosity and failure.”
After the speeches and performances by Clarion University musical groups, the Chamber Singers and the CUP-ellas–both of which included acapella beatboxing–student honorees proceeded to the stage.
Drs. David Hartley and Brenda Sanders Dédé read students’ accomplishments aloud and presented them with certificates and pins commemorating these accomplishments. Outstanding graduate students received plaques.
Academic Convocation was a part of the Clarion University Academic Excellence Series which included events like the Senior Honors Presentation, the Reinhard Awards and the Undergraduate and Graduate Resource Conference.