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Classes Begin at Mount Union College

August 28, 2006

After unpacking bags, buying books and forming and renewing friendships on campus during the weekend, nearly 2,000 students have settled in to begin classes today, kicking off the 2006-2007 Academic Year.

Freshmen arrived on campus last Thursday for Fall Orientation. Among a host of scheduled events was Matriculation Convocation, where the College community officially welcomed the Class of 2010, who had the opportunity to participate in one of the institution's most time-honored traditions.

The Matriculation Convocation is a tradition where the faculty and freshman students usher in the academic year. New students were welcomed by Dr. Patricia Draves, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College, and were greeted by Dr. Richard F. Giese, president of Mount Union.

Scott Zurakowski '94, president of Alumni Council, provided an alumni perspective on the Mount Union community and Student Senate President Andrew Ricci '07 also offered words of advice.

Dr. William Cunion, assistant professor of political science, chair of the Department of Political Science and the 2005-2006 Great Teacher, then addressed the audience.

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In answering the question that was the title of his presentation ' 'Why We're Here' ' Cunion suggested that many students believe they are in College because they want to make lots of money after graduation.

'That's a pretty good reason,' said Cunion. 'It's a smart, practical move, and I applaud you for taking the necessary steps to provide for your future.

'But even that's not quite it, is it?,' he added. 'If that were the case, we would simply train you in the technical skills required to perform a specific job, and let you be on your way. If you plan to be an accountant, we would require you to take nothing but courses in accounting. If your goal is to be a marine biologist, all of your classes would be in Bracy Hall. To work for the government, you'd take only political science. And so on. Instead, we make you take a broad variety of courses ' every one of you will take courses in the arts and humanities, and in the natural and social sciences. Even math' Why?'

Cunion went on to explain that current times require individuals to make challenging decisions to solve serious problems. In light of economic uncertainty, the outsourcing of American jobs, lack of health care insurance and more serious problems throughout the world, Cunion challenged the audience to play an active role in the elimination of suffering throughout the world.

'Our challenge ' your challenge ' is clear,' he said. 'Yes, these are difficult times ' but that also means that there are enormous opportunities.

'All of these different courses that you take work together, like pieces of a puzzle, to enable you to know what you're talking about, and to be able to communicate that to others,' he added. 'In the end, even if you are here only to 'get a job,' much more is expected of you. In a democracy, we are all obligated to make good decisions, to do our part to make the world better than it is. Ultimately, you are here to become a citizen, a responsible citizen.'

After learning of its significance from Draves, students had the opportunity to sign the Matriculation Book, which remains in the care of the Office of the President until graduation. At that time, it is placed on display in the Bookstore for students to see.

The Matriculation Convocation was followed by the Matriculation Dinner. On Saturday and Sunday, new students were led through a variety of activities, informational meetings and recreational events as upper-class students arrived on campus to move into their residence halls.

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