ALLIANCE, Ohio — The University of Mount Union officially welcomed its newest class of students during the annual Matriculation Convocation ceremony held Friday afternoon.
The Class of 2027 began the academic year with a ceremony held in the Timken Gymnasium of the McPherson Academic and Athletic Complex, located down the hall from the Peterson Field House where those same students will receive their degrees four years from now.
Dr. Sandra Madar, co-interim vice president for academic affairs and founding dean of the College of Natural and Health Sciences, welcomed the new students – nearly 600 in total. Madar discussed that the journey the students are beginning might be challenging at times but rewarding in the end.
“In the words of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, ‘The uh-oh moments are worth cherishing just as much as ah-ha moments… Mistakes and disappointments are a necessary component of growing wise,’” Madar said.
Mount Union President Greg King followed Madar by encouraging students to take advantage of the opportunities available to them on campus both in and outside of the classroom, as well as the ability to interact with individuals from an array of backgrounds.
“As you begin your college journey, 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 learn from people who are different from you,” King said.
Mount Union’s 2023 Great Teacher, Dr. Andrew Price, professor of English, discussed his passion for advising students along their academic journeys and his own small college experience.
“When you graduate from Mount Union, you will be career ready, whether you major in something like nursing or accounting – or French or history. Preparing students for ‘meaningful work’ is an important part of our mission, and we’re really good at delivering on this,” Price said.
Price went on to mention that he feels grades matter, but should not be the sole focus of students throughout their time on campus.
“There’s absolutely nothing wrong with striving for high grades—grades matter—but not if you become so risk-averse that you miss out on those classes and opportunities that might bring about personal growth,” Price continued.
Mount Union students Aaliyah Kinnard, a senior psychology major from North Canton and Student Senate co-president, Braydon Lazzara, a senior exercise science major from Munroe Falls, Ohio, and Garret O’Connell, a senior public relations major from Peninsula, Ohio, provided remarks on behalf of the student body.
“I got an opportunity to audition for the choral scholarship here at Mount. It changed my thinking, and I was afraid to take a chance. But I took the chance I took threw me into a college experience I will never forget,” Kinnard said.
“We are a family at Mount Union supporting one another at athletic events, in the classroom, and in the community. You are a part of this family now, take pride in that,” Lazzara said. “Mount Union provides you all with great opportunities to network and form meaningful relationships with faculty, staff, and one another.”
“I transferred to Mount my sophomore year without knowing much about the school. But my expectations were blown out of the water, between the wonderful people, beautiful campus and amazing opportunities,” said O’Connell.
At the conclusion of O’Connell’s comments, the students and faculty recited their respective Matriculation pledges. Dr. Bryan Boatright, co-interim vice president for academic affairs and university registrar, then took the stage to discuss the importance of the Matriculation Convocation. After learning about the significance of the ceremony, 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 arts 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 2027 for students to see.