The Pitt-Johnstown campus community officially welcomed the Class of 2016 today, beginning at 7 a.m. when students starting arriving on campus to move into their residence halls. Under sunny and clear blue skies, students and parents were greeted by eager PALs (Peer Assistance Leaders) and student volunteers, who quickly unpacked vehicles and carried items directly to the students' rooms.
Following a break for lunch, nearly 940 new students, along with their parents, filled the Sports Center where they officially started their Pitt-Johnstown college careers. Speakers at Convocation were President Jem Spectar, Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Janet Grady, Student Government Association President Cliff Maloney '13, Pitt-Johnstown Alumni Association Immediate Past President Gladys Go ‘92, and Amy Miller ‘92, this year's recipient of the President's Award for Teaching Excellence. 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 and took a moment to acknowledge and thank all of the parents, families, and significant others who helped bring these students to this special point in their lives. He then posed the question to the students: “Who are you?” and expanded upon the subject of personal identity and the search for answers: “A college education, at its best – a liberal arts education based on enlightenment might help you find some answer. Perhaps the question will be clarified; perhaps you might find an insight or two. But even if you figure out who you are, who should you be? Is it cast in stone? That is not settled…it is a permanent search for identity, to clarify your values, to find meaning: that is a college education.”
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 27.
"I encourage you to take advantage of every learning opportunity and every opportunity to become engaged, to grow, to become responsible citizens of the real world. You have to believe in yourself and in your ability to succeed. We very much look forward to sharing these successes with you."
--Dr. Janet Grady, Vice President for Academic Affairs
"You chose a small university because it’s personal; everyone will know you here, give it time. Professors will be able to help you on an individual basis. By branching out and getting involved, you can make your choice to attend a smaller school one of the best decisions of your life. Trust me when I tell you that you have chosen a great school."
– Cliff Maloney '13, Student Government President
"The Pitt-Johnstown alumni and community will help you learn and grow, both in and outside of the classroom.”
--Gladys Go ‘92, Pitt-Johnstown Alumni Association Immediate Past President
"College is an investment in yourself. Your goal is not the diploma, but acquiring the knowledge you need to achieve your goals."
--Amy Miller, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Technology and 2012 Recipient of the President's Award for Teaching Excellence
Freshman Convocation Photos