Convocation 2016: Where the journey begins

Photo credit: Brandon Parigo, Strategic Marketing and Communications

The official start of the academic year

The University of Missouri-Kansas City welcomed 1,040 transfer students and 1,151 new freshmen at Convocation 2016, the official beginning of the UMKC academic year.

Before students packed the floor of Swinney Recreation Center on Sunday, they signed class banners that will hang in the UMKC Student Union. The banners will serve as a reminder of their commitment to success and the start of their journey toward their individual careers.

Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Mel Tyler led the Convocation ceremony with words of encouragement.

“Whether you are a new freshman or a new transfer student, there will be ups and downs,” Tyler said. “Rest assured. We are here to support you — we are your partners in your education. Your journey begins now. Your success matters to us.”

There’s a lot to know about this year’s incoming class:

  • The average ACT score is 26, above the national average of 21.
  • The average GPA for the transfer students is 3.57.
  • 26 percent of the new domestic freshmen identify as an under-represented minority.
  • 23 percent of the new domestic transfers identify as an under-represented minority.
  • International students represent more than 80 different countries at UMKC.
  • 38 percent indicate they want to continue participating in community service while at UMKC.
  • 16 percent were elected officers in student government.
  • 3 percent have already started their own businesses.

Student success was a common theme during convocation as speaker after speaker pledged their support and assistance to students.

“You have made the wise decision to pursue your higher education at UMKC – a public, metropolitan, research university,” said UMKC Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Barbara Bichelmeyer, Ph.D.

“As a public institution, we at UMKC are conservators and stewards of knowledge in many disciplines,” Bichelmeyer said. “There is more knowledge available to you at UMKC than you could possibly ever fully explore in your lifetime. We are committed to sharing the knowledge we have for the good of the greater collective. As a student at UMKC, you will be invited by our faculty, staff and your peers, to engage in numerous and various experiences that will help you acquire as much knowledge as possible, for your own benefit, and for the benefit of others.”

Chancellor Leo Morton continued the message of student success.

“College is the place where you will discover who you are and who you aim to be,” Morton said. “We want you to have a sense of your foundation – of those who have paved the way for you. You are a part of a long line of highly regarded scholars and leaders. You are the newest in a long, proud line of Roos.”

Morton also asked something of the students – to get connected.

“Get involved in student organizations, attend sports events or concerts, musicals or plays,” Morton said. “Just as you will hang onto that all-important diploma, I encourage you to make friends to hang onto forever.”

Delivering a welcome on behalf of UMKC faculty was Janis Ellis-Claypool, B.S.Ed, M.S, teaching assistant professor in the UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies.

“We are so glad you are here,” Ellis-Claypool said. “You are, in fact, the reason we are here and we fully support you on your journey.”

UMKC Student Government Association President Navya Sane, graduate electrical engineering student, also presented words of encouragement.

“We chose UMKC because we wanted to do the impossible, and this school is equipped with the resources and faculty to help us do just that. The best tradition we follow here is the tradition of excellence,” Sane said. “We are responsible not just for ourselves but also for the footprints we are going to leave behind as we proceed. “My piece of advice is to follow your heart. Today represents your first official day as a UMKC student. Welcome Roos.”

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