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Convocation welcomes new students

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The La Verne community came together Aug. 30 for Convocation, signaling the start of a new school year. David Chappell, associate professor of physics, was Convocation speaker for the event held in the Athletics Pavilion. Chappell, who earned the 2017 Excellence in Teaching Award, talked about viewing last month’s eclipse from his family’s farm, which fell in the path of the totality. / photo by Taylor Griffith

The La Verne community came together Aug. 30 for Convocation, signaling the start of a new school year. David Chappell, associate professor of physics, was Convocation speaker for the event held in the Athletics Pavilion. Chappell, who earned the 2017 Excellence in Teaching Award, talked about viewing last month’s eclipse from his family’s farm, which fell in the path of the totality. / photo by Taylor Griffith

Mulan Novilla
Staff Writer

New students, athletes, faculty and staff were on hand to celebrate “The Art Of Unlearning” during the University’s Convocation Ceremony Aug. 30.

The ringing of the spirit bell officially began the 126th Convocation with President Devorah Lieberman first thanking the crowd in the Johnson Family Plaza and inviting them to enter the Athletics Pavilion.

“The Art of Unlearning” was the theme of the event, referring to unlearning as “the art of letting go of your previous knowledge and beliefs in order to make room for new facts and principles,” said convocation speaker David Chappell, associate professor of physics and the recipient of the University’s 2017 Excellence in Teaching award.

Provost Jonathan Reed served as the master of ceremonies.

“Convocation is a time when we come together to reflect on the challenges before us and how the University’s four core values can help us overcome those challenges,” Reed said.

Chappell explained how an individual’s beliefs are constantly challenged when he or she encounters different situations.

Some of these situations call for students to change their beliefs to broaden their understanding of the world.

In light of the new school year, Chappell encouraged the new students to surround themselves with people of various backgrounds and to be open to other ways of thinking.

“La Verne offers unique learning opportunities that other universities could not, so take advantage of this,” he said.

One of those opportunities comes in the form of alumni relations.

While the new students were preparing to enter the Athletics Pavilion, representatives from the Office of Advancement played an “Alumni Advice” video segment on Facebook Live. Volunteers responded to a piece of advice that alumni had written on a post-it.

“Alumni have a lot to contribute to students, and getting in contact with them for advice shows that they are engaged in a more intimate way,” said Fares Abdullah, a student assistant at the Office of Advancement.

Lieberman’s community message following Chappell’s convocation speech addressed the challenges ULV alumnus and Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo faced during Hurricane Harvey.

She explained how Acevedo used the values and skills he learned at La Verne to lead the Houston Police Department through the disaster.

“I know that you, like Art Acevedo, will take the core values and the skills from the University of La Verne to your next personal and professional chapter. Like Art Acevedo: lead. Lead with your head and lead with your heart,” Lieberman said.

She also advised students to keep their minds open and make long lasting friendships as they start their journey at La Verne.

She ended her message by welcoming new students to the University, where they can explore and grow.

Associated Students of the University of La Verne President Elmeera Nosrati, junior business administration major, led the students in the New Student Honor Pledge, officially welcoming them into the Leo family.

To close the ceremony, Assistant Professor of Teacher Education Christian Bracho and a new freshman student rang the Spirit Bell together.

“I liked how they honored the freshmen so we don’t feel left out. I felt really welcomed here, and I can’t wait to get to know everyone,” said freshman kinesiology major Yasmin Lopez.

Mulan Novilla can be reached at mulanelite.novilla@laverne.edu.

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