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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Penn State DuBois Welcomes New Students

Penn State DuBois Welcomes New Students

Chancellor Melanie Hatch welcomed new students and their families during Convocation Ceremonies Thursday in the campus gymnasium.

Around 230 students from across the country and around the globe officially became part of the DuBois community on Thursday at Convocation Ceremonies and New Student Orientation at Penn State DuBois.

Director of Enrollment Melissa Duttry passed on a list of names of new students to Chancellor Melanie Hatch, signifying the steps students have taken to move through the admissions process, to full student status. Duttry remarked that the population of the incoming class is quite diverse, with students hailing from 37 counties in Pennsylvania, seven states, as well as the countries of Brazil, China, Kenya, and Saudi Arabia.

"This year's class includes students from as close as East DuBois Avenue, within a block from the campus, and as far away as Kenya, 7,580 miles from here," Duttry said.

Hatch welcomed the new students, and offered words of encouragement about the changes the students will see in themselves as they pursue their education. She said, "This morning, I wanted to speak to you about transformation. In its simplest form, it just means 'change'. This is going to be a theme for us at Penn State DuBois this year. We are changing as a campus with the addition of new faculty and staff as well as the creation of new departments, new athletic teams, and new programming. I can also guarantee that you will be transformed in many ways by the time you walk across the stage for graduation."

Hatch encouraged freshmen to embrace every part of their educational experience, and to absorb the lessons from every new relationship they form, both in and out of the classroom.

"It is my hope that you will find friends, and faculty and staff members who have the potential to be a mentor for you; people who inspire you to seek out your personal truth. Cherish those relationships, because one day you will look back and realize how much influence they had on shaping you as an individual."

Hatch illustrated her message about transformation by referring to a book new students were asked to read as part of their orientation process. The book, Growing up Amish, charts author Ira Wagler's story of being born into the Amish community, and his struggles with the eventual decision to leave that life behind. She said, "Spoken like a person who has no regrets, Ira clearly chose his own path, and takes ownership of his personal transformation. I hope you'll be able to do the same. To accept help, to appreciate the opinions of others, to be open minded to new ideas, but to ultimately not be afraid to go after what you really want."

In order to fuel the community spirit on campus, new students spent the morning before convocation ceremonies participating in icebreaker exercises as part of their orientation. They worked in groups to accomplish tasks, such as moving plastic cups using only string, without directly touching the cups, and passed hula-hoops down a line of people standing, hand-and-hand, without breaking the human chain. The exercises are designed to demonstrate the importance of team work and critical thinking; concepts that educators at Penn State DuBois believe are paramount to a well-rounded education.

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