This past Tuesday, Sept. 10 at 1:30 p.m., Wilkins Theatre was filled with all of the liberal arts majors as the College of Liberal Arts (CLA) invited them to their second annual convocation. The purpose of this event was to invite the new freshman and transfer students, as well as the returning CLA majors and get them excited for the upcoming semester. This event also allowed students and professors to get to know each other on a more personal level, as well as ensure that the students are supported by the staff from the CLA.
The event began with a procession in which the professors from the CLA filled the aisles dressed in their academic regalia. Jonathan Mercantini, Ph.D., acting dean of the CLA welcomed the guests. He first introduced the deans of the colleges under the CLA, which includes the schools of social sciences, psychology, general studies, fine arts and performing arts, English, communication, media and journalism as well as the center for interdisciplinary studies. He then introduced the President of Kean University Dawood Farahi, Ph.D.
President Farahi gave the Liberal Arts majors advice on how to expand their career not only during their time at Kean, but also in the years that follow. The last piece of advice he gave was, "You need to be able to focus on the mountain that you want to climb. Sometimes you may not be able to run up the mountain- then walk. Sometimes it gets tough, you can crawl. But when it flattens out again, start running."
Mercantini followed the president by addressing the students and informing them on the resources that are offered within the CLA. He then gave his own piece of advice.
He said, "Whatever you are planning to major in, whatever degree you eventually graduate with and I'm asking you, wanting you to make that pledge today- to me, to yourselves, to your family- to graduate. You will leave Kean with the skills to succeed in the 21st century economy. "
He continued, "The ability to communicate clearly and effectively, to work well in diverse teams, to think critically, to solve problems and to be prepared for a lifetime of learning- that happens here at Kean, and that happens in the College of Liberal Arts."
Following his speech, Mercantini invited the guest speaker for the event, Kiki Jamieson, Ph.D. Jamieson has many accolades and achievements, a few being that she is the president for The Fund for New Jersey, chair of the Board of the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, a trustee of Bryn Mawr College and the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers, as well as an author of "Real Choices: Feminism, Freedom, and the Limits of Law."
Jamieson addressed the students on the topic of power and how it affects how society operates. She explained that the education students received at Kean would help them to understand institutions and have the courage to ask the necessary but difficult questions.
She finished her speech by saying, "Ask questions. Don't take anything for granted. Just because something is a certain way, doesn't mean it should remain so. Work to understand in a deeper way what's going on in your scholarship and in your world. And finally, most importantly, be brave."
After the closing remark and recession, the various colleges within the CLA were given different locations in which the students and professors could mingle and get to know each other on a more personal level. This was a time were students could also get to know any of the staff within their college that they may not know, and ask many questions that they may have. These conversations were all done over ice cream, which made everyone even more excited.