Fall 2016 Convocation, the official welcome for new UNC Asheville students, took place in Kimmel Arena on Aug. 19, with Chancellor Mary K. Grant presiding over the ceremony and many members of the campus community, including seniors Devyn Smith and Charlie White, Provost Joseph Urgo, Associate Professor Lorena Russell, and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Bill Haggard, offering words of advice and inspiration to guide the students on their first steps, past the Bulldog statue for good luck, into Kimmel Arena for the ceremony, and onto the Quad for a campus picnic and Rockypalooza.
As Chancellor Grant said during the ceremony:
Now as you entered the arena today, you did so as individuals, and as you leave here today, you do so as part of a future graduating class and a member of this community. And as you entered here today, you also received a small stone with the word “peace” on it.
As an outward and visible commitment to peace, I ask that you place your stone in the container, and as you do, I want you to think about what you can do this year to resolve disputes and effect change through creative problem-solving, honest discussion, and peaceful and respectful resolution.
Think about the symbolism of how your one small stone combined with all the others will now be a thousand strong. Your individual contributions count, they matter. They add to the foundation and continued growth of a purposeful, just, open, disciplined, caring and celebratory community, as outlined so beautifully by all of our speakers today. Every person, every stone of peace, does make a difference. I thank you for being here. We are going to have a great year!
She also tied the future work to the work completed over the summer, most specifically the first-year students reading Kevin Ashton’s How to Fly a Horse:
The author Kevin Ashton makes the point very well that creativity is more than one grand aha moment. It’s about doing the work and redoing the work. It’s about questions and answers. It’s about incorporating new information, new learning. It’s about trying, failing, trying again.
As Ashton notes at the end of his book, ‘all stories of creators tell the same truths – that creating is extraordinary, but creators are human, that everything that is right with us can fix everything that is wrong with us and that progress is not an inevitable consequence but an individual choice. Necessity is not the mother of invention,’ he says, ‘you are.’
Classes at UNC Asheville begin Aug. 22 with Kevin Ashton speaking on campus Aug. 23.