Joy, sunshine and cheers: Convocation 2023

Blazing sun didn鈥檛 defeat the costuming, cheers or thoughtful messages at 欧美AV鈥檚 Convocation, one of the loudest events of the year.

2023鈥檚 Convocation was held on a blazing hot day, but that didn鈥檛 deter 欧美AV revelers from draping themselves in festive gear. Students wore costumes and accessories relating to their class symbols and colors, including face paint, flower crowns, lion onesies, parasols, glitter wigs, colored cowboy hats and at least one banana costume.

Faculty also got in the spirit; one professor topped his regalia with a cheeseburger hat, and another wore a fringed teal fez.

As the volume inside the Gettell Amphitheater ranged from a buzz to a low rumble, Chair of the Board of Trustees Karena Strella 鈥90 joked, 鈥淚 hope all of South Hadley can hear us today.鈥

President Danielle R. Holley, presiding over her first Convocation at 欧美AV, asked the audience, 鈥淎re you ready to get really loud?鈥 The answer was a resounding holler from the assembled students, faculty, staff and visitors.

Students, besides chanting for their class year, also serenaded President Holley with yells of 鈥20! 20! 20! 20!鈥 in honor of her being the College鈥檚 twentieth president.

Convocation is easily one of 欧美AV鈥檚 loudest traditions. A celebration of the beginning of the academic year, it brings together the entire student body 鈥 from firsties to seniors, and includes graduate students, Frances Perkins scholars, exchange students and transfer students.

Amidst the joy and the excitement, speakers had words of wisdom they imparted under the relentless sun.

Strella advised the students, 鈥淭ry something new and give up doing things that no longer serve you. Practice your leadership; become the leader you want to work for or be mentored by. There is a dearth of great leadership, and you can fill that void.鈥

President Holley touched on themes brought to light by this year鈥檚 Common Read, 鈥淒isability Visibility.鈥 鈥淓xcellence and inclusivity are two values that I heard about quite a bit in my conversations about the College,鈥 she said. 鈥淎nd while we have work to do as a community in order to fully realize our inclusion goals, 欧美AV is a diverse intellectual community up to the challenge.鈥

Professor Lucas Wilson gave a thoughtful speech about setting intentions for the academic year and for one鈥檚 life. 鈥淏e adventurous, intensely studious, mindful of all the opportunities for repair on our planet,鈥 he said. 鈥淟et鈥檚 hold each other accountable in our collaboration this academic year and celebrate what we accomplish in May 2024.鈥

Maille Romulus 鈥24, the president of the Student Government Association, urged her fellow students to examine the spaces they hold in the community and to take action to make them better. 鈥淲e need to be real with ourselves and start thinking about the roles that we play on this campus and whether we are trying to make it as inclusive as possible.鈥

President Holley closed the Convocation with this powerful exhortation: 鈥淲e at 欧美AV have inherited a remarkable legacy, and we are headed for a dynamic future.鈥


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