Freshmen and Faculty Convocations Kick Off the Fall Semester

On August 25, 2009, the Saint Peter’s College campus bustled with activity.  New and returning students unloaded their belongings in the parking lots, faculty members returned to their offices to prepare for the first day of classes, and celebrations were held across campus to commemorate the start of another exciting new year.  The day began as the Class of 2013 gathered in the Yanitelli Recreational Life Center for Freshman Convocation. 

The Convocation focused on community outreach, responsibility, and college pride. Mildred Mihlon, dean of freshmen and sophomores, kicked off the ceremony, inviting new students to make the most of what could be the “best years of their lives.”  In his address to the students, Eugene J. Cornacchia, Ph.D., president of the College, encouraged them to open their minds and hearts and to get to know all of the people who are different from them in the world.  “You have been called here to find your voice,” he said, and went on to urge the freshman class to become involved in the surrounding community.  Marylou Yam, Ph.D.. vice president for academic affairs, also provided remarks, encouraging the students to “experience, reflect, and act,” assuring them that the College will support them in all their endeavors.  At the end of the Convocation, Noel Borges ’10 invited students to sign the Petrean Creed.

Students, hailing from across oceans and commuting from down the street, enjoyed barbeque fare and lined up to sign the Petrean Creed later in the day during what was playfully coined “Freshman Funch” (a fun lunch—funch). Yanitsa Toneva, joining Saint Peter’s College from Bulgaria, spoke enthusiastically about her first year in the United States and her first year in college, noting how excited she is to begin learning Italian, her third language.  Mahum Hashmi (pictured), who is a psychology major, noted that she is eager to start her own journey at Saint Peter’s as she follows in the footsteps of her sister, who is currently a senior at the College. 

That afternoon, friends and family of faculty and administration gathered in the newly renovated Roy Irving Theatre for the annual Faculty Convocation, which is an opportunity to recognize the accomplishments of members of the Saint Peter’s community and kick off the coming academic year.  The Convocation celebrated anniversaries within the Jesuit Society as well as those community members receiving tenure, promotions and fellowships. 

The highlight of the Convocation, the Bene Merenti Ceremonies, celebrated members of the community who have served 20 years with the College.  The recipients (pictured left) included Crescenzo G. Fonzo, Edward J. Baggs, Sheila Rabin, Christopher Pellino, Michael B. Sheehy, Marylou Yam, Meyer Silver, Lamberto Nieves. The profound impact of their instruction and work with the College was evident in the speeches preceding the presentation of each award.  Elaine Poiani said of Lamberto Nieves, “He dispels every myth about those serious mathematics types with his effervescent smile and laugh… He is still thrilled when a student gains confidence through solving mathematics equasions."

The Convocation was followed by a small president’s reception in McIntyre Lounge, where members of the college community, family and friends congratulated and bid one another good luck in the coming year.