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Ceremony welcomes class of 2023

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Robert Ruiz, director of forensics threw on his Los Angeles Dodgers hat while he spoke to new and returning students and faculty at Convocation Aug. 28 in the Athletics Pavilion. The event rang in the University’s 128th year. / photo by Maydeen Merino

Robert Ruiz, director of forensics threw on his Los Angeles Dodgers hat while he spoke to new and returning students and faculty at Convocation Aug. 28 in the Athletics Pavilion. The event rang in the University’s 128th year. / photo by Maydeen Merino

Deja Goode 
Staff Writer

Robert Ruiz, director of forensics and recipient of the 2019 Excellence in Teaching Award, was this year’s keynote speaker at the University’s annual Convocation to ring in the 128th academic year Aug. 28 in the Athletic Pavilion. 

Ruiz’s talk, titled “Remember When?” encouraged the incoming class to find their true self by connecting with professors who support them fully. 

“It is up to you to guide your narrative and how you choose to define or even redefine your identity and your life,” Ruiz said. “It is time to reexamine your identity in the most positive way,” Ruiz said. 

Ruiz also recognized, Kyeesia “Mika” Makekau, who is the first female football player in the University’s team history.

“Number 30 will remember when she takes the field for the first time inspiring women and little girls who wonder if they are good and strong enough to compete in a male dominated sport,” Ruiz said.

Ruiz also gave advice to faculty and staff for start of the new academic year, reassuring that it is OK to be afraid.

“Leadership is about being vulnerable, and strength comes to us when we reexamine our episystemic sense of being,” he said. 

“Our energy is just as reflective as is our authenticity and vulnerability.”

“It is time we allow that heartbeat to write not just the history that will come but her story that needs listening.”

University President Devorah Lieberman emphasized that every person contributed to the University’s mission.

“This is where you belong,” Lieberman said. 

“New students faculty and staff, it is our time, our heartbeat comes together as one,” Ruiz said. “Today begins that journey to find that narrative to live.”

To view the full convocation visit laverne.starway.com/ulv353850453. 

Deja Goode can be reached at deja.goode@laverne.edu.

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