Trustee John Mathias
Aug. 26, 2008

Thank you, Sarah and good evening, everyone. On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the faculty, it is my honor to proclaim formally the opening of the 2008-2009 academic year.

This is a pleasant duty I have this evening, but I must tell you as a member of the Class of 1969, 2012 does not roll off the tongue so easily. 

In addition to being a University Trustee, I am also a lifelong resident of Lewisburg.  As such, I have the double distinction of welcoming the Class of 2012, along with the new faculty and staff, to my school and my town.  We all know Bucknell is one of the very best undergraduate institutions of higher education in the country.  What you may not know is that Lewisburg has been named one of the best small towns in America.  Combined, that’s pretty special.  And yes, in case you are wondering, I do know where to find the best pizza, but I’m not going to tell you.

I want to extend a special welcome to our new provost, Dr. Michael A. Smyer, who joined us on July 1. You will be hearing from Provost Smyer shortly, but let us welcome him this evening by giving him a warm round of applause.

Tonight, each of you formally joins us in keeping alive a proud tradition of exceptional learning.

Every August, Convocation represents for the University a renewed sense of wonder and curiosity as we behold the wealth of opportunities that lie before us during the academic year ahead. To those of you who are new to the University, no pressure here, but we look to you as a source of the most valuable aspects of academic life – those ideas, talents, and energies that help us shape the life of this campus community with meaning and purpose.

You are joining quite a community. The members of the Classes of 2009, 2010, and 2011, along with our returning faculty and staff members, have been waiting for you. They are poised to support you, just as they are eager to challenge you, learn from you and become your colleagues. Together, you will discover, I am sure, new ways of seeing the world, and new ways of contributing to it.

In these endeavors, I wish you a year of success and fulfillment. It is great to have you with us at this magnificent university. On behalf of the Trustees, welcome to another fantastic academic year.

Before we proceed with the evening’s schedule, I would like to acknowledge my colleagues on stage and thank them for being here tonight. Each of them plays a singularly important role in the life of Bucknell University.

There is one person with us who, as eloquent as he is, does not have a speaking role tonight whom I want to acknowledge. Jim Orbison is the Dean of the College of Engineering, a proud graduate of the Class of 1975, and the parent of two sons – one a graduate of Bucknell’s Engineering program, the other a member of the Class of 2010. Thank you, Dean Orbison, for playing such a vital role at Bucknell.

At this time it is my distinct privilege to introduce a fellow trustee and the 16th president of Bucknell University, Dr. Brian C. Mitchell.  President Mitchell has been at Bucknell for just over four years now, and he has led with remarkable energy and vision. The Board of Trustees is continually inspired by his vision and optimism as the University works toward fulfilling the goals of ThePlan for Bucknell.

Ladies and gentlemen, Class of 2012, President Mitchell…

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