Philadelphia University Community Welcomes Incoming Class at Annual Convocation

Michael Leonard, associate professor of industrial design and interim academic dean of the School of Engineering and Design, gave the 2011 Convocation address on Aug. 18.

Philadelphia University welcomed more than 800 new students and their families at the University’s annual Convocation on Aug. 19.

“Move-in Day and Convocation are two of the most gratifying events on campus,” President Stephen Spinelli Jr., Ph.D., said to the crowd gathered in The Gallagher Athletic, Recreation and Convocation Center. “This is when we get to embrace [our new students] as the newest members of our family and officially mark the start of a brand new academic year.”

At Convocation, recent President’s Award winner for teaching excellence, Michael Leonard, associate professor of industrial design and interim academic dean of the School of Design and Engineering, spoke to the new students about fulfilling needs. Leonard said a few years ago, when he had the opportunity to meet the poet Maya Angelou, she expressed her views about the role of educators.

“She mentioned her concerns about educators understanding their responsibilities in supporting students’ aspirations,” Leonard said. “I agreed and mentioned how I always hope to give my students that which they need to reach their goals. She said that my knowing that my job was to fulfill needs probably helped me to be a good teacher. I was so struck by the complement that I don’t remember much of the rest of the conversation.”

Leonard talked about how at Philadelphia University, the faculty, staff and administration work hard to make sure students are equipped with the education and the tools they will need to successfully pursue their dreams. Click here to read his full speech.

Also at Convocation, four new students were given the opportunity to honor their high school mentors through the bestowing of the Centennial Medal Awards. Four outstanding educators—Vitto Cresta, Kimberley Destefano, Larry Merighi and Rebekah Stohlmann—were presented with the award for their dedication in preparing their students for college. The educators were nominated, respectively, by first-year students: Savanah Krause from Ijamsville, Md., Kurt Palumbo from Perkasie, Pa., Dylan Skye from Stow Creek, N.J., and Jeremy Webner from Maspeth, N.Y.

As the first official gathering of incoming students, Convocation marks the start of the academic year. For more information on the 2011-2012 academic year, visit the Academic Calendar.

 (Standing, left to right) Students Savanah Krause, Kurt Palumbo, Dylan Skye and Jeremy Webner are pictured with their high school teachers and mentors (seated, left to right) Vitto Cresta, Kimberly Destefano and Larry Merighi. Rebekah Stohlmann is not pictured.
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