121st Opening Convocation Celebrates Year of "I Can" Action!
Converse welcomed students, faculty and staff during its 121st Opening Convocation on September 14.
2010-2011: Year of “I can” Action
President Fleming opened the 121st session with the inspirational story of dancing pioneer, Martha Graham. Fleming discussed the twists and turns that Graham’s creative life path took in her pursuit of excellence. Praise and disdain, respect and contempt, awe and even laughter were the contrasting responses to her life’s work. Graham once asserted that “Some men have thousands of reasons why they cannot do what they want to, when all they need is one reason why they can.” Unwilling to let convention or others’ perception limit her vision, Graham insisted “I can” and ultimately made history.
President Fleming described the “can do” spirit that is alive and thriving in Converse alumnae, students, faculty and staff. She cited alumnae Judy Teele’s ’66 bike trip across the country to raise funds to support leukemia research in memory of her son, Hank. Fleming also described Junior Eleanor Johnson’s mission to raise awareness and funds to support The Nature Conservancy’s efforts to lead a long-term restoration process along the Gulf Coast.
In closing, President Fleming issued a community-wide challenge—to build on the energy and momentum of the past years, to employ the “I can” spirit that leads to greatness. Fleming said, “We all have it in us, the choice between ‘I cannot’ and ‘I can.’ Let’s seize the moment and make this, a year of ‘I can’ action.”
“This is OUR year!”
President of the Student Government Association Madison Brewer ’11 greeted her fellow Red Devils with a message about the importance of experiencing as much as they can while they are together at Converse. First, she challenged classmates to create the experience. “Every one of us creates ourselves while we are at Converse, and each of us creates experiences that are different and unique.” Brewer went on to talk about dominating the experience, and decreed that seniors will dominate and win 1889 Week, but also described the freshmen class as a “force to be reckoned with!” Brewer also discussed owning and enjoying the experience and promised the audience that, “The best is yet to come.”
“Language Study in the Age of Globalization? Yes, Ma’am, Miss Gee!”
Keynote speaker Dr. Mirko Hall, 2010 Kathryne Amelia Brown Teaching Award Recipient and Assistant Professor of Foreign Languages, took to the stage in a way only he could—with a life-size cutout of Taylor Lautner from the Twilight film series to protect him from any “full moon” antics. While he enlivened and drew regular laughter from the audience (citing everything from his mother thinking Converse’s first president was a “hottie” to placing a cutout of a younger Prof. Joe Dunn on Taylor Lautner’s body) he delivered a meaningful and relevant message about the importance of language study in the Age of Globalization. Hall stressed to the audience, “A knowledge of other languages and cultural values expands your intellectual and social horizons; it gives you a better understanding of the multicultural world in which we live, and a deeper appreciation of the social, political and religious values that we all share in common. This is the power of trans-cultural awareness.”
Top Grade Point Averages in Each Class 2010-11 Academic Year
During the service, the following students were recognized for their academic achievement:
- Elizabeth Lindsay Eller
- Victoria Ashley Garrett
- Alexandria Danielle Lee
- Elizabeth McArver Davis
- Cameron Leigh Hood
- Sarah Nicole Jones
- Elizabeth Dianne Anthony
- Gillian Jeanne Gurish
- Victoria Marcene Hand
Class of 2014 Academic Excellence Recognitions
Bowden Scholarship: Kathleen Hines
Mary Helen Dalton Scholarship: Maya James
Petrie Foundation Science and Math Scholarships: Erica Bennett, Hannah Parker and Meredith Walker
Virginia Turner Self Scholarship: Katelyn Mae Noel
Weisiger Outstanding Scholar-Athlete Scholarships: Kandace Giffin and Jessica Pope