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Brockport / President's Office / Presidential Speeches and Public Statements / Convocation 2005

President Halstead’s Academic Convocation Speech

3:30 pm, Sunday, August 28, 2005

I remarked at our Faculty-Staff Opening of School Convocation that one of our nine goals is to celebrate the academy. This is the beginning of your academic career. The ritual of reception, dance ensembles and the candle lighting ceremony mark this as a moment to celebrate.

Remember it always — cherish it!

I remember my freshman year, the rites of passage, the symbols of the college I attended.

You see, in many ways I am like a new student as your new president.

There are similarities and there are differences.

Photo: John R. Halstead, PhDFor example, then I wore a hat bearing the college logo. Now I wear the medallion as your president.

Then I read John Gardner’s Self-Renewal. Cost: $1.45. Now you read Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Cost: $12 – priceless!

Did you read the book? I did.

Here’s your very first quiz at Brockport by Professor Halstead. Don’t worry — there are only five questions:

 Did you see five red cars on the way to Convocation?

  • If you did, it’s a "Super Good Day" for you like Christopher John Francis Boone.
  • If you hit five red cars on the way, I can assure you it won’t be a "Super Good Day."

Are you ready to take risks to learn a great deal in the next four years?

Could you solve the Sherlock Holmes mystery in Chapter 108?

Better yet, can you frame strange, apparently disconnected events in your life to make sense as Christopher Boone did?

Don’t you wish — especially as you face the rigors of college — that your memory was like film — namely, that you could rewind, pause and fast forward? Knowing all the countries, capital cities and prime numbers through 7057?

Bonus question #6 — Extra Credit: Do you feel (as I do) like you are in a new place like Christopher? In the field early-on noticing all the new things around him? Around you on campus?

Let me cite one more simple rule — again, from Christopher:

"I think prime numbers are like life. They are very logical, but you could never work out the rules, even if you spent your whole life thinking about them."

 These are my three rules for you as Brockport students and faculty:

  1. Treat everyone here with respect and dignity.
  2. You are responsible for engaging in learning — students and faculty alike.
  3. You — our students — are why we’re all here. First and foremost, student success is our #1 priority — so succeed!

We celebrate your entry into SUNY College at Brockport!

In closing, here’s one final quote from quite a different book and author: Life Expectancy by Dean Koontz:

"I do not define life by the length of life, but by the quality of it. By what I expect from it and how well my expectations are met. The more you expect from life, the more your expectations are fulfilled."

So, yes, by all means: Expect the Extraordinary here at Brockport!

Last Updated 2/28/12

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