LAURINBURG — St. Andrews University welcomed new students at its Opening Convocation on Tuesday — and the event was open to the public for the first time.
Bagpipe sounds wafted across the campus as Piper Major William Caudill led the freshmen and transfer students from the academic side, across the Causeway, inside to the Harris Courts gym.
St. Andrews President Paul Baldasaregave the convocation and the title was “Challenge, Change and Call.” He urged students to get out of the box and push to learn something new.
“The pace of change is fast and its relentless … as new and returning students … step outside of that small box called yourself and open yourself up to other ways of viewing things, other ways of organizing your life — experimenting with advice given by mentors and new friends about how they are dealing with challenges,” he said.
He spoke of the importance of diversity at the college and that the faculty are they to support the students growth.
“I can assure you, the faculty and staff at St. Andrews are here in response to their own personal calling to work in education and support young men and women just like you,” Baldasare said.
Freshman Vanessa Stafford appreciated the address and applied it to the reason she chose the college.
” I think its really important … he brought up change but also being accessable to everyone,” she said. “The reason I came here was because the vibe was so friendly and everybody was so open and so accepting. Something he said was we can’t rest on the laurels of the past … it’s important because … if you reach where you wanna be and just stay there then you’re losing out on so much of what you could have.”
The Rev. James Henery, university chaplain, presented the invocation and Vice President for Academic Affairs and English Professor Edna Ann Loftus welcomed the community — while Commissioner Carol McCall, State Rep. Garland Pierce, and Laurinburg Mayor Pro Tem Mary Jo Adams were also present.
Student Government Association President Eduardo Andrade also gave a welcome to the new students, saying he feels excited for new changes.
“I’m just honored to be a part of the first university wide convocation, because we’ve been growing for many years and now we are actually able to really make changes this year that weren’t possible in the past,” he said. “So this is just a brilliant start for what’s going to be an amazing year.”
The new students then participated in the Community Honor Code ceremony, where they each signed an honor code to make good choices at St. Andrews and in the community. The occasion ended with the alma mater sung by all and a picnic on the Belk Patio.
Admissions Counselor Israel Herrington said, ” It gave the students a real traditional feel — something that the students can look forward to. I feel like they are being welcomed into a bond that is going to last forever.”
Jael Pembrick can be reached at 910-503-3069 or [email protected]