Convocation Remarks by Mick Smyer
August 22, 2012
Asking Three Questions
It is, indeed, a pleasure to welcome once again the Class of 2016 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 three important questions that could shape your Bucknell experience.
As I mentioned on Friday night, in using the metaphor of whitewater paddling for your college experience, over the next four years you will focus on what is important and essential to you. In doing so, I hope you will answer these three important questions:
- What gives me deep satisfaction? (As Bill Gates and Warren Buffet put it in an essay: What leaves you “tap dancing to work?”)
- What am I good at? (As President Bravman said on Friday, don’t limit yourself solely to what you were good at upon graduating from high school. )
- 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 answer all three questions, 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 this community working on your behalf:
You have already heard from Reverend John Colatch, University Chaplain, who offered the invocation.
- Dr. Keith Buffinton, Dean of the College of Engineering, and Bucknell alumnus;
- Dr. George Shields, Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences;
- Rabbi Serena Fujita, the University’s Jewish chaplain;
- and Fr. Fred Wangwe, the University’s Catholic chaplain.
I’d also like to acknowledge several faculty colleagues who were honored at Commencement last May for their outstanding teaching:
- For the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching, Scott R. Meinke, Associate Professor of Political Science;
- For the William Pierce Boger Jr., M.D. Award for Excellence in Teaching in the Natural Sciences, Julie A. Gates, Assistant Professor of Biology
Three other colleagues were also honored last Spring but could not be with us tonight.
- For the Class of 1956 Lectureship Award, Amy M. Wolaver, Associate Professor of Economics;
- For the Presidential Awards for Teaching Excellence, we have two awardees, David Rovnyak, Associate Professor of Chemistry; and Constance W. Ziemian, Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Now I’d like to ask Professor Kim Daubman, Chair of the Faculty, to come forward and extend a welcome to the newest members of the Bucknell community on behalf of the faculty.