Convocation Remarks 2011
by Mick Smyer
It is, indeed, a pleasure to welcome the Class of 2015 and the transfer students who are joining the Bucknell community for the first time.
As I thought about this evening's session, I was reminded of one of the essays in This I Believe, the common reading for our incoming students. The essay I have in mind is Disrupting My Comfort Zone by Brian Grazer. In our discussion group this morning, several students commented that this essay struck them as particularly relevant for someone starting at Bucknell. And I agree. You may remember that as he started out in the entertainment business, Grazer described his process: "made a list of people I thought it would be good to meet...people who would shake me up, teach me something, challenge my ideas about myself and the world." Why did he do this? Again, Grazer follows:
"The answer is simple. Disrupting my comfort zone, bombarding myself with challenging people and situations, is the best way I know to keep growing."
What a great synopsis of what your Bucknell experience can be like! Take yourself out of your comfort zone and in doing so, answer three important questions:
What gives me deep satisfaction? (As Bill Gates and Warren Buffet put it in his essay: "tap dancing to work"). What am I good at? And who cares? (what is the social structure that will support me in what I deeply like to do and am good at?)
Fortunately, you are in a great university designed to help you develop academically and existentially over the next four years. A faculty member put it best: "This is a student-centered place. The whole place is keyed to educate undergraduates at the most holistic level."
Now I'd like to introduce several of my colleagues who are with us on stage tonight. They are part of the community working on your behalf:
Dr. Keith Buffinton, Dean of the College of Engineering; Dr. George Shields, Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, and Rabbi Serena Fujita, the university's Jewish chaplain.
Now I'd like to ask Professor Tony Massoud, Chair of the faculty to come forward and extend a welcome to the newest members of the Bucknell community on behalf of the faculty.