Texas A&M University-Kingsville

Freshmen Learn Traditions, Get Into The Spirit At Convocation

KINGSVILLE - August 30, 2007

Contact: Julie Navejar
kajam03@tamuk.edu or 361-593-2590

Corpus Christi Education Service Center Director Gives Keynote Address

Texas A&M University-Kingsville hosted Freshman Convocation at 1 p.m. today, Thursday, Aug. 30, in Jones Auditorium. This annual tradition welcomes new students to the campus and to college life.

“The purpose of convocation is to welcome new students to the university and while doing so, to introduce important traditions to the newest members of the campus community,” said Dr. Dann Brown, dean of University College and chair of the convocation committee.

“This year’s convocation committee hoped to accomplish part of this task by providing new students with the opportunity to observe and better understand the importance of traditions associated with higher education.”

This year’s keynote speaker was Dr. Linda Villarreal, executive director of the Education Service Center, Region 2 in Corpus Christi. She earned bachelor’s of science, master’s of science and doctoral degrees from Texas A&I University/A&M-Kingsville. An educator for 28 years, Villarreal has worked as a teacher, principal and superintendent in South Texas schools. As a principal and superintendent, Villarreal worked with her staff to create an innovative educational environment for children that earned her staff and district state awards for outstanding student achievement.

“Freshman Convocation is linked to our student’s eventual graduation from A&M-Kingsville,” Brown said. “This message, that the goal of obtaining a college degree is attainable on our welcoming campus, is conveyed symbolically as faculty, staff, students, family and guests participate in convocation.”

“Freshman convocation is an annual tradition that began in the fall of 1999. Its purpose is to unify the students, faculty and staff of Texas A&M-Kingsville,” Dr. Kay Clayton, provost and vice president for academic affairs, told the group. “The word ‘convocation’ means a gathering. Thus, it is with this convocation, we are gathering as a university community to celebrate your new status as university students and to welcome you into the community of scholars that makes up our university.”

“In keeping with the mission of the university, we have been preparing for your arrival for almost a year,” she continued. “Faculty have been designing and revising curricula to better prepare you for the 21st century. Staff members in every unit have spent many hours planning for this day and we are indeed delighted that you are here.”

“Over the coming years, A&M-Kingsville will serve as a catalyst for your learning, growth and development, resulting in the creation of teachers, accountants, computer scientists, lawyers, doctors and scientists, as you become college graduates and the leaders our society needs to grow and prosper,” said University President Dr. Rumaldo Z. Juárez, as he addressed the freshmen.

“I commit to you that we will strive to exceed all of your expectations and provide a supportive environment for your success,” he added. “We want to encourage you to constantly challenge yourselves to reach your full potential. Never accept less than the very best for yourselves and take this special time in your life, your college years, to learn all that you can and to prepare yourselves for the challenges you will face when you enter the workforce.”

“We can provide the opportunities, but you must take advantage of them. We want you to succeed, and we want to assist you in your quest to earn a college degree. Many of you are the first in your family to go to college. Make the most of this opportunity. Take pride in who you are and in what you are becoming,” Juárez said.

All students were invited to attend the convocation, and attendance was required for freshmen enrolled for the first time in the fall semester. Parents and other family members also were invited. The convocation was followed by a reception.

For more information call 361-593-3290 or visit the convocation blog at http://amkfreshmanconvocation.blogspot.com/.

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