Mount Ida Welcomes Class of 2016 and Start of School Year at 114th Academic Convocation
August 30, 2012
Dr. Jim Martin, Keynote Speaker talks to the Class of 2016 at Academic Convocation 2012.
Newton, MA — New students from the Class of 2016, their families and friends, along with members of the Board of Trustees, faculty and staff, recently gathered under a tent on the Lower Athletic Field to officially begin the academic school year. The event kicked off with a procession of faculty in full academic regalia led by College Marshal Maria Vitagliano, Professor and Director of the School of Design, and a sole bagpiper.
The program featured the following speakers: Dr. Ellen Beaulieu, Vice President for Academic Affairs; Michael T. Burns, Chair, Board of Trustees; Veronica Gioia ‘13, Business Administration Major and Student Government Association (SGA) President; President Barry Brown; and Keynote Speaker, Dr. James Martin, Professor of English and recipient of the 2012 Lettieri Excellence in Teaching Award. The national anthem and alma mater were sung by Monica Johnson ’13, Interior Design Major and music accompaniment provided by Calvin Conyers ’05, Associate Dean of Admissions.
Your Chance to Make a Difference
Mount Ida’s 114th Academic Convocation was Barry Brown’s first as the College’s eighth President. During his remarks to the Class of 2016, their families and the Mount Ida Community, he reflected on two stories deeply connected to the College.
He spoke of Robert Gould Shaw, Jr., for whom Shaw Hall was named. Gould Shaw was the Colonel of the first black battalion of American soldiers serving in the Civil War and from a storied family of committed abolitionists who argued for the freedom of slaves in America long before the Civil War. Brown highlighted one of the statements from Shaw’s letter from the battlefront, which explained why he and his family fought so hard, “We are fighting for the people whose poetry has not yet been written.”
President Brown also shared alumna Ernestine Cole 1916’s story. Ernestine was a dedicated school teacher for 60 years and Mount Ida helped empower her to pave the way in the women’s suffrage movement in her small New England town of Hampton, New Hampshire. She was among the first women to vote in 1920 and was also the first woman in town to be voted onto the school board. After years of respected service on the school board, the town later voted her to lead the Town Council.
Brown concluded that these two courageous people of Mount Ida’s history have something in common with the Class of 2016—an opportunity to rise to the challenges of the day and change the world.
Choice, Community, Firmness, Fairness & Fun
Dr. Ellen Beaulieu, Vice President, Academic Affairs, introduced Academic Convocation’s Keynote Speaker, the 2012 Ronald J. Lettieri Award for Excellence in Teaching recipient Dr. Jim Martin, Professor of English. In true Professor Martin fashion, his remarks were witty, unscripted and from the heart, reflecting the Mount Ida student experience and his more than three decades here as a teacher, scholar and friend.
He framed his talk as "Three F's and Two C's: Grades He Hopes They Will Not Receive—And Lessons He Hopes They Will Learn." The "grades" stood for Choices, Community, Firmness, Fairness, and Fun.
He began by saying, along with President Brown, that the members of the entering class made one of the most important choices of their lives to attend Mount Ida. As a new Mount Ida Mustang, every undergraduate is a member of our community, and the talented members of the faculty are now focused on making each student's college years rewarding through excellent preparation for immediate employment upon graduation.
Martin concluded with “fun”, but not the kind you might think. He reminded students and their parents that there is a significant difference between "fun" and "funny." Being humorous as a professor is not as important as striving for the goals of those teachers who dedicate themselves to "carrying the light" into students’ lives, a light of integrity, honesty, core values, and a respect for the world's resources. These mentors are the ones who understand it is more important to reflect, and share, a joyful approach to teaching and learning than simply to be funny. Martin urged members of the Class of 2016 to find value and surround themselves with people who will enrich their experience at Mount Ida with this kind of "light."