Traditionally, a guest is invited to impart outside wisdom unto the entering class of students at the University of Mississippi during Freshman Convocation, but this year, incoming students were invited to listen to various university deans and Chancellor Glenn Boyce.
Dean of Students Brent Marsh hosted Freshman Convocation via Youtube and Facebook Live video on Tuesday, Oct. 6. However, the video was pre-recorded. Marsh began by riding in on a skateboard and donning a grey facemask.
“I am impressed by your resilience thus far and would encourage you to keep pressing on,” Marsh said.
In his section of the video, Boyce described how important the university is to him and how he hopes that all students will feel the same way while attending.
“Each and every one of you have something very special in common. You chose Ole Miss,” Boyce said. “Your choice creates a common bond that will never be broken.”
Boyce also discussed the freshman class’s common reading book, “What the Eyes Don’t See” by Mona Hanna-Attisha, which explores the lack of clean water in Flint, Mich. Boyce related the content of the book to the coronavirus, noting that the essential message is that everyone has responsibility to value and protect public health.
“While COVID-19 is very different from the water crisis in Flint, the similarity lies in the need to see the problem from a community-wide perspective, rather than focusing only on how an issue affects or does not affect us as individuals,” Boyce said.
Charlotte Fant Pegues, who currently serves as the interim vice-chancellor for student affairs, also presented the challenge coin. The phrase “Stronger Together” is on the back of the coin. Pegues discussed how important it is that the student body is stronger together by lifting each other up.
“You are a part of the Ole Miss family, and a good family takes care of one another,” Pegues said.
While convocation is not a tradition exclusive to the University of Mississippi, Provost Noel Wilkin emphasized how symbolic it can be in one’s academic career. He also thanked the freshman class for its willingness to participate around campus.
“Your presence here makes us a stronger university,” Wilkin said.
As chief academic officer, Wilkin also encouraged students to use their resources on campus and get involved in student organizations.
“Excellence is a critical part of our community and a critical part of the experience for both faculty and students,” Wilkin said.