Despite a very wet start to the day, the Pitt-Johnstown campus community officially welcomed the Class of 2015 today. The day began at 7 a.m. when students began moving into their residence halls. Students and parents were greeted by eager PALs (Peer Assistance Leaders), student volunteers, who quickly unpacked vehicles (unfortunately in torrential downpours at times) and carried items directly to the students' rooms. As one student commented, "Lots of great volunteers are working between the drops to move them in…it's great to see everyone working to help them move in."
Following a break for lunch, nearly 800 first-year students, along with their parents, filled the Sports Center where they officially started their college careers. Speakers at Convocation were President Jem Spectar, Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Janet Grady, Student Government Association President Clifford Maloney '13, Pitt-Johnstown Alumni Association President Jeffrey Philibin '88, and this year's recipient of the President's Award for Teaching Excellence Dr. Elena Constantin. The prevailing message to the students was seize the opportunities being presented to you during your time at Pitt-Johnstown to get ready for the real world.
Vice President Grady emphasized the importance of taking an active role in the learning process and encouraged students to get to know their faculty members and then led students in reciting the Pitt-Johnstown Pledge, which is a commitment to excellence for real world readiness:
By joining the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, I acknowledge this commitment and I make the following pledge:
- I pledge to honor Pitt-Johnstown’s legacy of academic excellence and to contribute to this heritage.
- I pledge to fully commit myself to the continuous pursuit of knowledge, to fulfill my academic plan with diligence and integrity, and to persist until graduation.
- I pledge to make the most of every opportunity to develop and advance my personal, career, and professional goals.
- I pledge to make the most of campus life, to be fully engaged on campus, and to work collaboratively to enhance collegiate life.
- I pledge to be involved in the civic, social, and cultural life of my community and to use my knowledge, skills, and talents in service of community, country and the common good.
- I pledge to increase my knowledge and awareness of the opportunities and challenges in our world and to be ready to make a positive difference in the Real World.
In closing remarks, President Spectar enthusiastically greeted the students, " We are glad that you have chosen Pitt-Johnstown and that Pitt-Johnstown has chosen you! Welcome to a community of scholars who, for nearly 85 years, have made this a very special place. " He then asked the students a question based on one of Aesop's Fables The Ant and the Grasshopper: "In getting ready for the real world, are you the ant or the grasshopper?" While he admitted to the students that there is a bit of grasshopper in each of us, they must not waste the opportunities that are presented to them during their time at Pitt-Johnstown, their summer. By taking charge of their educational experience and becoming engaged in the campus, the community, and beyond, each member of the Class of 2015 will leave Pitt-Johnstown with the knowledge and skills of an educated person – attributes critical to safeguarding our democracy and competing in a highly competitive world in which local and global are increasingly interconnected.
First-year students will spend the next few days participating in a number of activities to help them make the successful transition from high school to college. Among the topics that will be presented are conflict management, academic integrity, health and wellness, financial management, career planning, and inclusivity. A number of recreational programs are also being planned including and comedy acts, films, and dance parties.
Upperclass students will move onto campus Sunday, with Fall Term classes beginning Monday, August 29.
" Being successful in the real world is our goal for you. You are the key to your success."
--Dr. Janet Grady, Vice President for Academic Affairs
"This is your opportunity to start new, start fresh, and discover who you want to be. Your journey starts now."
– Clifford Maloney '13, Student Government President
"We [the alumni] are the present, but you are the future. You are here to find out what you want to be and I hope you find that here, and I hope you let the alumni help you do that."
--Jeffrey S. Philibin '88, Pitt-Johnstown Alumni Association President
"College is an investment in yourself. Your goal is not the diploma, but acquiring the knowledge you need to achieve your goals."
--Dr. Elena Constantin, Assistant Professor of Mathematics and 2011 Recipient of the President's Award for Teaching Excellence.
Freshman Convocation Photographs