Convocation with Emotion

Feature, News

-By Ethan Fria, News Editor




The 2013 convocations were met with an inauspicious beginning: the threat of inclement weather.

On May 19, travel-worn parents and friends of the graduates sat grumbling in the bleachers as rain pelted Sprague Field. This is the second year convocations took place on the football field instead of the amphitheater outside the Kasser  Theater due to the sheer size of the graduating class.The College of Humanities and Social Sciences had 1,211 baccalaureate candidates alone.

Despite the weather, the crowd still grew with excitement as names were called, awards were given and speeches were made.

President Susan Cole gave a speech to each college, celebrating their achievements and offering up the typical “this is just the beginning” theme for their potential careers.

Cole may have erred in her choice of words for the first convocation, saying that the pouring rain was merely imaginary. This, of course, was met with a chorus of boos from the increasingly drenched crowd.

But, “rain” or shine, these students were prepared to take the next step.

English major Meg Izbitzki was very much grateful for her time spent at Montclair. “Although graduating is a daunting task,” said Izbitzki, “I’m blessed to have spent my years at Montclair, where I felt I received a valuable education and lifelong friends.”

The weather changed for the better for the rest of the convocations, though the pockets of mud on the field were constant reminders.

The next day at the College of Education and Human Services convocation, Cole, visibly relieved with the much improved weather addressed the graduates, saying, “I thank you for this weather.”

Cole went on to deliver an uplifting speech: “As graduates, you have been well-prepared. We hope you don’t simply leave the school with a degree and find a job in your field, but take leadership roles in the world. Today is the day to be justifiably proud.”

For the College of the Arts convocation, the musical recordings were replaced by the real deal. Opening the event were a quartet of students playing “Trumpet Fanfare,” proclaiming the emotion clearly expressed on every sun-bathed, wind-soothed face: elation.

The intimacy was also heightened as one of the graduates, Mia Pafumi, took the stage to sing the National Anthem, a welcome change from the methodical atmosphere of a recording. Many of the members in the crowd had tears in their eyes as Pafumi saluted her school and her country with her voice.

The student speaker for the College of The Arts, Jessica Eucker, also added a touch of inspiration (a prevalent theme in her speech) to the event. She punctuated her speech with moments where she and the audience simply breathed in and out as part of a relief exercise to allow the graduates a moment of retrospection.

“Take the time to look at yourself,” she said. “Take in the potential that lies before you. Go out, inspire and take their breaths away.”

The commencement ceremony took place on Friday, May 25, at the Izod Center in East Rutherford.



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