University of South Carolina

Students browse program, ready for New Student Convocation

Convocation ignites passions for success

By Marcie Nelson,

New students and their families flocked to the Carolina Coliseum Sunday for the Class of 2017 New Student Convocation, a tradition where incoming Gamecocks hear words of wisdom from the academic leaders who will shape their future.

The audience sat with rapt attention as each speaker took his/her place behind the podium and delivered advice meant to inspire new students to reach new heights here at Carolina. Dennis Pruitt, vice president for student affairs and academic support, gave a heartfelt welcome and urged students to become actively engaged. With anecdotes and a genuine warmth, Pruitt said that students are joining a community where they have a privilege to mold, broaden and deepen their character. 

Pruitt then introduced USC Student Body President Chase Mizzell to define and present the Carolinian Creed to the Class of 2017. 

“The Carolinian spirit is eternal. It walks with you on the horseshoe, it echoes through Williams-Brice. It celebrates inherited traditions. It is immeasurable,” said Mizzell. 

Claudia Benitez-Nelson, 2013 Michael J. Mungo Distinguished Professor of the Year, took the stage with many smiles and laughs as she urged students to succeed academically.

“Your course work is a full-time job and only you are keeping track of your time. Study! It actually helps,” said Benitez-Nelson.

President Harris Pastides, who closed out the ceremony, used his time on stage to assure students and their families that everyone at Carolina is working hard to help each and every student succeed. Along with stressing individual responsibility, Pastides offered comforting words to end his speech.

“Remember all of us at this university are focused on you, are here for you, and are so excited about today," he said. "We’re gonna have four great years together.”

For new students, the prevalent message was to jump right into college life. The greatest regret is the disappointment of lost opportunities, and each speaker insisted the Gamecock family and nation will welcome the Class of 2017 in every way possible.

Here's what some had to say about the ceremony: 

“With not being from the state of South Carolina, I know that I am about to embark on a journey with so much spirit and so much love. Where I’m from, we don’t have that, and the love that everyone has for this place is what I’m most excited about.” - Bryan Soloman, freshman

“As a parent it was very important for me to see how tight the community is at the University of South Carolina. It was reassuring.” - Marcio Paulino, parent

“I really think that today, the whole ceremony really helped me appreciate Carolina a lot more. It helped me understand how many people are invested in my future and also what it’s going to take to succeed this year.” Kenyon Store, freshman

“Today students will realize that their time here at Carolina is very important and it really matters. They should take this next year seriously, don’t slack off and make the most of every accomplishment and disappointment.” Natalie Hageman, Residence Hall Association leader

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Posted: 08/18/13 @ 12:00 AM | Updated: 08/19/13 @ 10:56 AM | Permalink



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