St. Andrews welcomes class of 2015 with Opening Convocation
Laurinburg, N.C. – St. Andrews welcomed more than 180 members of the class of 2015 at the annual Opening Convocation held Friday evening.
"This is the 51st time we have held an opening convocation on this campus marking a new chapter in our students' lives," said College President Paul Baldasare. "It is also a new chapter in the life of the college through our partnership with Webber International University out of Babson Park, Fla. This partnership will enable the College to develop a host of new opportunities for our students. "
Featured speaker Dr. Neal Bushoven, distinguished professor of politics and director of the general honors program, provided a thought-provoking challenge to the students.
"Every year at this opening convocation I pose what is now the traditional question," Bushoven said. "Will we be in college or merely at college? Will we be a part of or apart from this vital learning community? If the only thing you take from this speech is grappling with this question, I will feel I have succeeded. In college? Or at college?"
Bushoven conjured up the image of two cartoon characters standing on a person’s shoulders, whispering conflicting advice regarding life choices. The first encouraging staying in a sheltered world, refusing to try new things with the second encouraging an open mind and taking chances. While clearly siding with the second character, Bushoven shared part of his reasoning.
"I discovered decades ago that this person my parents named Neal Bushoven never left my side," he said. "When I awake in the morning there he is. My mentor once advised me that since I was stuck living with Neal Bushoven I ought to make him as interesting as possible. He declared that when we say we are bored, we are really proclaiming we are a very boring person. When we say we are bored, we are saying hey, if you had to live constantly with me 24/7 you too would be very bored."
He challenged the students to help him continue to grow as a person, rather than allow him to become an old geezer who complains about young people all the time.
"I believe that we all need to find dignity in difference or as humans we will shrivel up and dry out," Bushoven said. "So as much as I need you, I think you also need me. Otherwise, living only in our own tribe we will both become lost and suffocated.”
Bushoven asked students for their help so that he and they would never stop learning and growing.
Student Government Association President Alexis Cowger shared her insights with the class from her perspective as a rising senior.
"Take this advice from someone who's been around the block, your time here goes by fast," she said. "So get involved, join clubs, be a part of a team or even volunteer. The experience you have while here can only be as memorable as you choose to make it. Will you choose to be a true St. Android and be involved and make a difference or simply slip through?
"So welcome class of 2015 to St. Andrews. Get out there and be a true St. Android!"
About St. Andrews
An innovative and bold academic venture, the distinctive character of St. Andrews has been marked by an interdisciplinary curriculum, a highly acclaimed college press, an award-winning pipe band, national champion equestrian teams, and first-rate scholarship. In addition to classes on the main campus, adult learners also choose the Center for Adult and Professional Studies opportunities through St. Andrews @ Sandhills and St. Andrews ONLINE.
On Aug. 29, 1958, the merger between Presbyterian Junior College and Flora Macdonald College became official with the formation of St. Andrews Presbyterian College in Laurinburg, N.C. Further information may be obtained by visiting the College's website www.sapc.edu, calling 800-763-0198 or sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.