The Bacheller Memorial Chime rings from our chapel each day at 5 o’clock and is one of the most unique aspects of the St. Lawrence experience. Last Thursday, many students may have noticed that the bells rang at a very unusual time; this was no mistake. This ringing of the bells marked the end of what has hopefully to become a new tradition here at St. Lawrence – the First Year Convocation.
As in years past, all FYP faculty held their 4th-Thursday-of-the-semester planning meeting. At the same time, all students from the Class of 2015 met in Gunnison Memorial Chapel during what would have been their scheduled FYP class time. The reason for the newly planned event was to once again welcome the class, to not only their first year of college, but also to the St. Lawrence community. The main focus of the event was to ask all first year students to commit to St. Lawrence’s values of personal and academic integrity as well as social responsibility. This ceremony emphasized the importance of responsibility, history, and traditions that make St. Lawrence so successful, the values that created a loyal group of Laurentians over the years. Personal conduct and loyalty were among several topics of the ceremony. Speakers included Thelmo President Robby Glass ‘13, Chair of the Academic Honor Council, Rachel Yalowich ’12, alumnus John Pontius ’10, Deena Giltz McCullough ’84, President of the Alumni Executive Council, and our very own President William L. Fox ‘75.
Rachel Yalowich ’12 had some words of wisdom for the incoming freshmen class: “I encourage everyone to get involved, find what you are passionate about, or just do things that you enjoy. Get out of your dorm and meet new people. Explore Canton, the Adirondacks and the North Country. Take advantage of all the opportunity and beauty around you.” Having such exceptional representatives of the class of 2012 certainly makes a lasting impression on our fellow classes and hopefully encourages them to do the same. For Ben Woodbury, a freshman from Yarmouth, Maine, the entire event was a success: “Convocation was a really positive experience. The speakers emphasized the incredible amount of opportunities available to students at SLU and I sensed an overwhelming sense of Laurentian pride. As I signed the book, I felt a hunger to get more involved in everything SLU offers so I can leave my dent in this special place after my four years.”
This entire ceremony was an idea driven by student members of Thelmo and the Academic Honor Council. These groups sought to establish and raise awareness of the Honor Code as well as emphasize the importance of an ethical, responsible community. The event was made possible with a great amount of support and planning with the assistance of members of the Philanthropy Task Force. The event was generously funded by a Presidential Innovation Grant.