University of Mount Union Welcomes Class of 2021 in Matriculation Convocation
August 21, 2017
ALLIANCE, Ohio – The University of Mount Union officially welcomed its newest class of students during the annual Matriculation Convocation ceremony held Sunday afternoon.
The Class of 2021 began the academic year with a ceremony held in the Peterson Field House of the McPherson Academic and Athletic Complex, the same venue in which those same students could receive their degrees four years from now. Dr. Jeffrey Breese, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the University, welcomed the new students –approximately 600 in total. Breese encouraged students to make connections with faculty, among different classes, outside and inside the classroom and with members of the Mount Union community.
“At Mount Union, we believe in connections,” Breese said. “Today, I will share four important ones. Number one, connect with your faculty. They are committed to you and your education. Number two, connect your learning from different classes. Number three, connect your learning from outside the classroom with your learning inside the classroom. And number four, connect with members of the Mount Union community –staff, alumni, and most of all, fellow students. Much of your learning will come from people and relationships.”
Entering his third academic year as University President, Dr. Richard Merriman spoke to the students about why the uniqueness of the incoming class is important to the University.
“Some of you are extroverted, confident and energized in social situations,” Merriman said. “Others of you are quieter, more likely to think twice before speaking up, and a little slower to reveal yourself to others. Some of you were hyper-involved students in high school. Others were more focused in terms of your involvement. You bring to the University multiplicity, complexity, difference. Different as you all may be, you do have one important thing in common: we chose you.”
Merriman said the Class of 2021 comes from California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. In addition, international students represent China, Ecuador, France, Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom
“The people seated with you today have great value, in our eyes, just as you do,” Merriman said. “I hope you will see, in the varied backgrounds and experiences of your classmates, and in the diverse people who work at the University, a great opportunity to learn about and appreciate people who are different from you.”
Ms. Jan Webler, an assistant professor of education 2017 Great Teacher, shared words of wisdom with the incoming class. Webler opened her remarks by engaging the Class of 2021 in the spelling of “success” before beginning her speech titled, “The Secret to College Success in Three Words”.
She spoke of how she challenged her colleagues to come up with three words that are essential to students’ success at Mount Union.
“Their quick responses included: attitude, balance, curiosity; organized, study, advisor,” Webler said. “Some took a different approach to choosing their three words: Get enough sleep. Sit down front. And, my favorite, go to class!”
Webler then asked students to think of three words themselves before sharing and discussing her list, which included the words engage, learn, and persevere.
“Engage,” she said. “Be a college student with all your heart. There are some things in life that you can do half-heartedly. College isn’t one of them. Do not squander your time here.
“Learn. Learn how you learn best. Your learning style influences the way you understand and process information. Are you an auditory learner, a visual learner, a kinesthetic learner, or some combination? What habits and learning strategies are successful for you? Know yourself. Know how you learn and use that information on your journey to success.
“Persevere. You are about to enter one the most intense educational experiences of your life. You are a work in progress — don’t expect to get everything right the first time.”
Webler closed her speech by telling students of the Class of 2021 that they will be changed by their experience at the University, but she also expects that Mount Union will be changed by their presence.
Next, Mount Union student Jesse Wynn, a senior of Strongsville, Ohio and president of Student Senate, addressed the freshman class. He discussed the reputation and stereotypes associated with being a millennial, and encouraged the Class of 2021 to embrace the fact that their generation doesn’t take things for granted or accept the status quo.
“I am here today to encourage you to apply this skepticism, this attitude of norm challenging, in your every-day lives here at the University of Mount Union,” he said. “You have all worked and studied hard to get here, and you, your families, or both, are probably making a lot of sacrifices to see you through.
“I want everybody to get the most out of this undergraduate experience that they possibly can. And what I’ve learned is that applying our generational thinking on a personal level is one of the best ways to achieve that end.”
Alumni Association representative Bill Schumacher ’82 encouraged students to be involved on campus, both while a student and after graduation.
“I know it’s hard to think a few years down the road to the day you will graduate and all that will come after, but making meaningful connections now will benefit you long into your futures,” Schumacher said.
After learning about the significance of the Matriculation ceremony from Breese, students had an opportunity to sign the Matriculation Book. Signing the book is a pledge that students will dedicate their efforts and talents to excellence in liberal learning and career preparation. The book, which remains in the care of the Office of the President until graduation, will be on display in the University Store during graduation week in 2021 for students to see.