New students introduced to Marymount values, traditions at 2019 Convocation

Marymount administrators, faculty and staff officially welcomed the Class of 2023 this past Thursday at the New Student Convocation in the Rose Benté Lee Center.
Convocation is a longstanding tradition held to celebrate the new academic year and mark the transition of incoming students to the Marymount community. Following an introduction by new Student Government Association President Sarah McDonald and an invocation from Rev. Joseph Rampino, President Irma Becerra addressed the crowd of students, parents, faculty and staff.
“This day represents the beginning of another chapter in your lives – one that will be filled with change, challenges and growth,” Dr. Becerra said. “Where you spend your college years has a great impact on the person you become. To the parents who are in attendance today – be assured that your student made the smart choice by selecting Marymount.”
Becerra then reflected on Marymount’s three core values – intellectual curiosity, service to others and a global perspective. She also summarized the university’s mission and near 70-year history, including its transformation from a two-year, women’s only college to a co-educational, doctoral-granting institution that is cutting-edge and designed for innovation.
“In the years to come, we expect to continue our growth and become a nationally-recognized leader of Catholic education,” Dr. Becerra added. “As new members of the Marymount family, you are part of that!”
The university’s new Provost, Dr. Hesham El-Rewini, then introduced the most recent recipient of the Robert E. Draghi Distinguished Faculty Award, Dr. Eric Bubar. The award recognizes a faculty member who has contributed to strengthening the overall university community, demonstrates teaching excellence, supports Marymount’s mission and embraces a “Students Come First” philosophy.
Dr. Bubar, an Associate Professor in the Department of Biology and Physical Sciences, is known for his physics and astronomy expertise, as well as his research in using low-cost desktop 3D printing to create upper-limb assistive devices for individuals in need. During his remarks, he expressed how the skills Marymount students gain can solve some of the world’s most significant challenges.
“Your faculty and staff are here to help you get the most out of your years at Marymount, so I encourage you to talk to faculty in class, approach them about research projects and get involved in on-campus clubs,” Dr. Bubar said. “If you take an active part in your education, you’ll truly grow over your years at Marymount.”
Dr. Demetrius Johnson, Associate Vice President for Student Engagement and Student Affairs, also spoke to the crowd at Convocation and gave words of wisdom to the incoming students.
“Class of 2023, you are not here by accident,” he said. “You are here on purpose, to learn with purpose, so we can help you find your purpose.”
First-year students then committed to one another by chanting in unison, “Once a Saint, always a Saint!” After the conclusion of the ceremony, they paraded outside the Lee Center to ring the ceremonial bell left behind by the Class of 2014.
Many new Saints said they appreciated the unique, close-knit nature of Convocation.
“I thought it was really different – I’ve never even heard of something like this happening at most schools,” said freshman Health Sciences major, Emma Chandler. “I like that the teachers came and welcomed us, and accepted us into the Marymount community.”
“The school leaders and faculty members that spoke to us were so inspiring and encouraging,” added freshman Linda Vangura. “They made it seem like we could go to them if we ever needed to during our time at Marymount, which was very nice.”
“There’s just a great sense of community here,” said freshman Amir Hall, who was also recruited to play on the Men’s Basketball team. “There’s a lot of energy, and meeting new friends is really easy.”
The freshman class is projected to have 427 members, and includes students from 30 states and 31 countries – qualifying as the university’s most geographically diverse class in the past five years. Also, they have already demonstrated a commitment to academic success, sporting an average high school GPA of 3.3.