President Marcia Hawkins, Ph.D., addressed the Union College student body for the first time during fall convocation, urging them to reject mediocrity and expect excellence from themselves and the institution.
As keynote speaker, Union’s 19th president offered students not the ABCs, but the “ABCD and Es for our first academic year together.”
“Be aware, be bold, be curious, be deliberate and be excellent,” Hawkins said. She told students they should be aware in everything they do, both physically and mentally. They should take charge of their education, exploring and expanding their horizons. She also urged students to be curious and ask questions, and to be deliberate when setting goals.
Hawkins emphasized particularly the advice associated with the letter E: “Expect excellence from me, and I promise I will expect excellence from you,” she said. “Don’t accept mediocrity at Union. Let’s respect each other enough to expect excellence.”
Union College Excellence in Teaching Award winner Kyung Hoon Lee, D.B.A., also addressed students, encouraging them to take chances.
Lee referenced a Korean parable about a frog in a water well that had two choices: to either stay put and see only that world for the rest of his life, or to leap out and see a world that he could never imagine. Lee urged students to make the leap.
“Try new things,” Lee said. “Diverse experiences will make you strong.”
Richie Mathes, Student Government Association president, reiterated Lee’s remarks.
“We all have a role at Union,” he said. “To enhance that role, you need to get out of your comfort zone.”
The ceremony was held Thursday, Aug. 30, in Robsion Memorial Arena. Fall convocation marks the official start of Union’s academic year and is held annually.
Union College is a private, liberal arts institution associated with the United Methodist Church.