Convocation speakers highlight perseverance

. / photo by Jashelle Ranson
President Devorah Lieberman speaks during the bell ringing ceremony in the Johnson Family Plaza to open the 2022 convocation Aug. 24. She was joined by alumnus Bob Dyer, who rang the bell to symbolically start the new academic year. / photo by Jashelle Ranson

Liliana Castañeda
News Editor   

The University welcomed incoming students, faculty and staff in the annual Convocation ceremony with a nod at perseverance and unity. 

About 200 students waited outside the Sports Science and Athletics Pavilion to ring the bell to inaugurate the new academic year at noon on Aug. 24.

University President Devorah Lieberman rang the bell alongside Bob Dyer, 1963 ULV alumnus. 

At this, a crowd of football players gave shouts and hoots of excitement as the first chimes of the 2022-23 academic year sprung from the massive iron bell.

Convocation opened with the National Anthem sung by sophomore educational studies major Taylor Murphy. University Chaplain Zandra Wagoner opened Convocation by honoring the Tongva people and said a blessing for the audience.

“May you be blessed with the disciplines of hope,” Wagner said. “Persistently affirming that tomorrow is possible.”

University Provost Kerop Janoyan welcomed Michele Assael-Shafia, assistant professor of law, to the stage to speak.

“As a first-generation college student I remember that feeling,” Assael-Shafia said. “The feeling of tremendous pride for the journey that you’re about to embark on but also an overwhelming sense of fear and uncertainty, wondering if I could achieve my dream and ultimately earn my college degree.”

Assael-Shafia described what community is, and she said that we know what it means because that word ignites a sense of belonging. She said that as the college experience begins, students should go to class and meet their peers, learn to study, set goals and achieve them, and finally find a passion and make a difference with it.

Gail Tang, associate professor and chair of mathematics, was the second featured speaker. She discussed the anomaly that is life and the irony behind her accomplished goals being something she never wanted to do in the first place.

Tang said she once hated math but now loves teaching it.

“So it is true that we know ourselves best, but it is also true that sometimes we become our own worst enemy,” Tang said. “Sometimes we limit ourselves to who we think we are, rather than seeing what others think we’re capable of being. So open your mind to beyond who you imagine to be and you might surprise yourself.”

Lieberman took to the podium again and reinforced that the University of La Verne is a family and a supportive community at that.

“We’re surrounded by love,” Lieberman said. “We’re surrounded by support. We’re surrounded by people who want to be here. So let me be among all of those to welcome you to Convocation 2022.”

Liliana Castañeda can be reached at

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Liliana Castañeda, a senior communications major, is the Fall 2022 news editor of the Campus Times. She has previously served as editorial director, arts editor, copy editor and a staff writer.

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Jashelle Ranson, a junior photography major and business administration minor, is a staff photographer for the Campus Times and La Verne Magazine.


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