Written by Kenzie Kesselring, Opinions Editor
Editor’s Note: To watch the full convocation, click the link here:
Cecil Staton, the VSU Interim President gave the Fall Convocation last Monday in Whitehead Auditorium at 10 a.m. During the convocation, Dr. Staton addressed the importance of the incoming freshman class of VSU, and the importance of focusing on student retention and success in the upcoming school year.
After opening the convocation, Dr. Staton gave the floor to Peggy Mock, who spoke on behalf of the Faculty Senate.
Mock quoted Margret Mead by saying “never doubt that a group of thoughtful committed people can change the world,” while speaking for the Faculty Senate’s on its excitement about the upcoming school year.
Keith Warburg, the Chair of Council of Staff Affairs, then spoke about the importance of everyone working together to serve the VSU community. Warburg encouraged the faculty and staff to communicate better in the upcoming year for the sake of VSU students.
The SGA President, David Burdett, then took the floor and thanked all of the VSU faculty, staff, and the Valdosta community. Burdett encouraged students to become more involved on campus, and encouraged Valdosta State to offer more incentives for incoming summer and spring students.
“New students bring us new dreams,” said Staton, when returning to the floor and shifting the conversation to the importance of VSU, refocusing its attention to student retention and success.
Staton addressed the issues of budget cuts, cuts in faculty members, and a drop in enrollment. However, Staton balanced this bad news with good news. VSU’s graduate programs have seen healthy growth within the last few years according to Staton.
Staton did not shy away from tough issues during the convocation. He addressed the flag incident that took place on VSU’s campus last spring. Staton reassured the VSU community that challenges such as this happen on every college campus and he praised the way the Valdosta community handled the situation.
He then went on to discuss VSU’s marketing plan, “Invest. Ignite. Inspire,” that began last year. He thanked all of the donors and talked about the great success the program has seen. According to Staton, VSU has raised 70 percent of the five year goal from this marketing campaign in just one year.
“I’ve come to understand in such a short period of time why so many people love Valdosta State University,” said Staton when closing the convocation. After thanking everyone, Staton handed the floor over to Warburg one last time.
Warburg presented the Staff Excellence Awards on behalf of Staff Affairs. The recipients of these awards were Brittany Smith, Robert Tindell, and Rosella Ward.
After an hour, the 2015 Fall Convocation came to an end. Interim President Staton spoke in a hopeful manner about the future of VSU, exciting the audience about the upcoming school year.