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Academic Convocation kicks off year

August 29, 2011

By Ali Neese, Staff Writer

New and returning Young Harris College students filled the Hilda D. Glenn Auditorium in the Clegg Fine Arts Building on Aug.16 at 7 p.m. for the annual Academic Convocation.

Ruth Looper, dean of the Division of Humanities, welcomed the students and faculty to the event that “mark[ed] the beginning of our academic year.” All students had the opportunity to attend the event, where YHC faculty and staff challenged students to make the most of their college experience.

To open the ceremony, Reverend Tim Moore, YHC campus minister, led the invocation. Following the invocation, Jeff Bauman, professor of Music, led the audience in singing YHC’s alma mater.

President Cathy Cox welcomed both faculty and students to what she called the “new” Young Harris College.  Describing the large number of changes that have occurred on the college’s campus in the last four years, including the addition of new buildings, students, and faculty members, Cox said she believes these changes make the campus feel like a fresh college every year.

Cox also stressed to the incoming freshmen they have “entered a whole new realm of learning” where students who put forth the required time and effort will reach formerly unrecognized levels of potential.

Following Cox’s speech, SGA President Emalyn Cork led the student address and encouraged students to let service “saturate their lives” and to make this year “a year to not only get involved but to pour into the lives of others.”

Dr. Ron Roach, vice president for Academic Affairs, gave the academic charge where he both challenged and encouraged students to make the most of their time here at YHC.

Roach asked students what they would do with the unique opportunity given to them by attending YHC and stated that “small learning communities can inspire great learning and teaching.”

Roach emphasized that students will be pushed and challenged while attending YHC, but the key ingredient to their success here is found in their attitude. He then outlined what he believes is an excellent guide for active learning, modeled after Benton Mackaye’s purpose for hiking the Appalachian Trail, which states, “To walk, to see, to see what you see.”

Roach stated that “being an active learner is like walking, being an observant learner is like seeing, and that being a reflective learner coincides with “seeing what you can see.”

Following Roach’s academic charge, student Chair of the Honor Council, Courtney Moore, presented Cox with the Honor Code signatures from the entering freshman and new students. Cox then pronounced the opening of the academic year.

The benediction was given by Moore and was followed by the recession of the faculty and then the students.

When asked to comment on the night’s events, incoming freshman Madison Perdue, a biology major from Loganville, Ga., said while she did not expect the formality of the ceremony, she found it “inspiring and amazing.”

Returning student Megan Powell, a junior human communication major from Cleveland, Ga., said she found Roach’s speech to be “captivating because he challenged you to want to learn.”

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