Alfred University News

Opening Convocation held at Alfred University marking beginning of 187th academic year

Alfred University hosted its Opening Convocation Friday afternoon, marking the beginning of the University’s 187th academic year. Classes for the 2022-23 year began on Monday, Aug. 29.

ALFRED, NY – Alfred University hosted its Opening Convocation Friday afternoon, marking the beginning of the University’s 187th academic year. Classes for the 2022-23 year began on Monday, Aug. 29.

Amy DeKay, who this summer began her duties as vice president for Student Experience, provided the keynote address to the first year and transfer students, as well as the faculty and staff in attendance. DeKay told students about the many opportunities they will find during their time at Alfred University.

‘Your presence here today with me marks your acceptance of another opportunity—to be inducted into a community of learners,” she commented. “There are so many more opportunities that await you, some small, some big, and some more obvious than others.”

DeKay told students they would have opportunities to grow during their academic journeys. Some, for example, may struggle with commitment for hard work and dedication needed to succeed; each have opportunities for develop their potential to overcome those struggles. She encouraged students to develop a support system at Alfred to help them succeed. She recalled her own time in college, during which she overcame difficulties rooted in injuries sustained at a young age in an accident.

“Throughout my life, I have surrounded myself with a web of supporters. They have encouraged me to dig in, face the obstacles, work hard, get involved. I failed at some of those obstacles, but what was important is that I learned from them and continued to work hard and succeed,” said DeKay, who graduated with honors in 1995 from Medaille College with a bachelor’s degree in child and youth services. “So, I challenge you to own your story, think about what you bring to this opportunity and do not be afraid to fail, but realize you always have the power within you to create your story.”

Amy DeKay’s full comments

DeKay said many of the opportunities available to students at Alfred University are “rooted in the AU’s commitment of being welcoming, inclusive, and a supportive community that challenges all students to grow, become socially responsible, and be committed to becoming a global citizen and civically engaged.”  She encouraged students to become involved in standing up—whether it be against racism or gun violence, or for the rights of women and the LGBTQ community—and to show compassion and empathy for each other.

“Develop your character. In order to take advantage of the opportunities that await you, you have to be courageous, and I implore you to be compassionate. Help one another. Be ready for those decisions ahead and engage in peaceful and purposeful dialogue, listening to one another,” DeKay said

“Please become our leaders in the future who embrace opportunities that leave a legacy of character, and a legacy of courage, and a legacy of compassion.”

Natalie Reynolds, Student Senate president, addressed students, urging them to get involved and take advantage of the opportunities presented to them.

“You’ve heard college will be the best years of your life; that’s only as true as you choose to make it,” said Reynolds, a junior fine arts major (English minor) from Amsterdam, NY, who was elected Student Senate president in May.

“Think about what Alfred can do for you. Take advantage of your time here,” she said. “You’ll be happy if you dive into everything Alfred has to offer.”

Mark Zupan, University president, encouraged students to “realize your purpose,” that which “brings you meaning and joy while improving the well-being of others.”

Zupan said students can realize their purpose by taking advantage of “a bounty of intersections” afforded in Alfred University’s broad range of curricular and co-curricular programs, the University’s emphasis on learning by doing, “and our ability to attract students as well as faculty and staff with such diverse backgrounds, outlooks, and aspirations.”

Mark Zupan’s full comments

He also noted the commitment of faculty and staff to the University’s promise of helping students realize their purpose by providing guidance. He encouraged students to seek out mentors who will help them achieve success.

“Take an active role in building relationships within this constellation of prospective mentors,” Zupan said. “While you are the CEO of you, your ability to identify the North Star of your purpose will be profoundly enhanced by the board of advisors that you develop along the way. Take the initiative to meet with them during office hours; ask them to get together over coffee or a meal to learn more about their field and what has worked for them; and use them as a sounding board when you seek to resolve the challenges that you confront.”

Sara Badeau, a junior double-majoring in music (focus on vocal music) and business, sang the University’s alma mater. Sara is the daughter of Jeremy and Melissa Badeau of Canaseraga, NY. Melissa is director of Office and Procurement Services at Alfred University.