Small Class Learning, Big Campus Experience

Photo credit: Janet Rogers, Division of Strategic Marketing and Communications

Convocation introduces freshmen, transfer students to U-M-K-C

The dramatic drone of bagpipes accompanied by the rhythmic pounding of drums led the University of Missouri-Kansas City Convocation.

The Aug. 18 ceremony at Swinney Recreation Center marked the official beginning of the fall semester and ushered freshman and transfer students into their academic journey at UMKC.  A procession of flags introduced each of UMKC’s 14 academic units in the order they joined campus, from the decades-old College of Arts and Sciences to University College, created in 2012 for students exploring a major.

Deans and other faculty, dressed in formal regalia of robes, sat on the stage in stark contrast to the student audience, who mostly sported jean shorts and T-shirts.

“In two years for our transfer students and in four years for our freshmen, we will be back here —but you will also be in your regalia, following the bagpipes, as we celebrate your graduation,” said Mel Tyler, UMKC Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management.

Tyler kept the convocation casual for the students.

“As you came in, you were given a T-shirt. Students, would you please stand now and put on your T-shirt?” Tyler asked, pausing while students slipped white T-shirts printed with blue and gold. “This is one of our long-held traditions at UMKC – our new students put on the University’s school colors. Look around the room. These are your classmates. You are all about to begin one of life’s most important and exciting journeys. With that in mind, I would like to greet you as future UMKC Alumni.”

Gail Hackett, Provost and Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs, offered steps to student success: go to class, get to know the faculty, get involved on campus, get to know other students and consider being a student a full-time job — that means three hours of studying for every one hour of class.

“At UMKC, you get the benefits of a small school environment just as you would at an expensive, private liberal arts school — with small classes and access to full-time faculty, but with the advantages of a major research university, in an urban setting to boot,” Hackett said.

Convocation concluded with students stretching their arms YMCA-style to U-M-K-C.

Monika Patel, a Chemistry major who transferred from online studies, said the ceremony eased her nervousness.

“I’d been feeling a bit freaked out because this is my first campus experience,” Patel said.

“After this, I’m ready to start classes.”






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