Spalding University’s first-year students have been on campus and in class for a couple weeks at this point, but on Wednesday, they got another warm welcome, more well wishes and an extended lesson on Spalding’s mission during the university’s annual Convocation ceremony.
All of Spalding’s new freshmen filled into the lower level of the Columbia Gym Auditorium to hear speeches from President Tori Murden McClure and others about making the most of their college experience.
McClure gave an in-depth explanation of the Spalding mission statement – reading it aloud, then expanding on it line by line.
“Spalding is a diverse community of learners,” she said, referring to the first line. “Look around. We value diversity. We want to learn from all kinds of voices, and we want to hear yours. Disagreement is not a sign of trouble; disagreement is a sign of thinking.”
She said Spalding works to meet the needs of the times in the tradition of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth and values compassion, the Golden Rule and a commitment to service, peace and justice.
“Here’s a secret,” she said. “The world’s not going to make you happy. It’s up to you. You’re in charge of your happiness. It’s all about attitude, all about being, all about finding your mission and finding your heart. … While you are here, I hope you find your mission.”
Then, as has become tradition at Convocation, McClure distributed bronze coins to all the new students that are engraved with the Spalding symbol on one side and key tenets of the Spalding mission on the other.
“It was really inspiring,” first-year psychology major Haley Logsdon said of Convocation. “I like to collect things that mean something to me, and I’ll put them on my dresser or somewhere where I’ll see them every day, and I’ll do that (with the coin).”
She continued: “When I was in high school and thought about going to college, I kind of thought of it as just a stressful experience just to get a degree and stuff like that. But now that I’m here, I see that it’s also about making relationships with people around you and about making a difference.”
Other speakers at the event were Peace and Restorative Services Director Chandra Irvin, new Dean of Undergraduate Education Tomarra Adams, Liberal Studies faculty member Deonte Hollowell, Spalding social work alumna Tanaa Davis, Student Government President Scotty Brooks, current student and peer mentor Shianne Davis, International Student Coordinator Sister Margaret Rodericks, SCN, and First-year Experience Coordinator Jeffrey Cross.
“The mission of Spalding is to make a difference in the world,” Tanaa Davis told the freshmen. “You all each have something different to contribute to make this world a better place. Here at Spalding, you can actually make things happen. This is the make-it-happen type of university.
“If you have an idea or a vision that you want to bring to pass, this is the place to do it, and this is the place where you’ll have the foundation for your purpose in life. You’re going to find your purpose in life here, I promise.”