Connecticut College News
Academic year opens with Centennial Convocation09/8/2011
Tiana Davis Hercules '04 speaks at Centennial Convocation.
Watch a YouTube video of Centennial Convocation highlights Attorney and advocate Tiana Davis Hercules '04 officially opened the 2011-2012 academic year by encouraging the newest members of the Connecticut College community to take full advantage of the liberal arts education they will receive. "Attaining a liberal arts education is attaining the capacity to think critically, to enter into the continuous pursuit of knowledge and to become an agent of change, rather than a victim," said Hercules, a 2004 Connecticut College graduate who now works as an advocate for healthcare access for underserved populations in Connecticut. "You will be afforded the opportunity to study in a rigorous academic community … challenged by your teachers, who you will one day call your friends. "Challenge yourselves," she told the students, "and then challenge the world." See a Centennial Convocation slideshow. In honor of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the College, Hercules was invited to speak at Convocation, an annual ceremony to celebrate the start of the academic year, welcome new students and faculty and recognize the senior class. The Centennial Convocation featured other new elements, including a procession of new students and a special gathering for seniors, and traditional highlights like the recitation of the matriculation pledge and the formal presentation of the Class of 2015 banner, which will be displayed at formal occasions during the students' four years on campus and then later at reunion celebrations. A new Honor Code banner, featuring an insignia designed this summer by Owen Stowe '11, was also unveiled at the ceremony. The insignia features three intertwined links of a chain contained within a triangle. Stowe explained that the three links are meant to represent different aspects of the College's Honor Code: community, integrity and civility. "The triangle surrounding the chain links serves to contain all within it and create a framework," he said. "In the same way, the Honor Code provides an underlying sense of direction and conviction and is one of the key structural forces unifying the College and its community." In her remarks at the ceremony, Student Government Association President Diane Essis '12 spoke about the importance of the Centennial and students' role in the College's continued success. "Connecticut College was just a baby 100 years ago, and she was cared for and nurtured by the people of New London and the new faculty, staff and students of Connecticut College," she said. "We are the ones that keep her alive. We are the ones that work together to support her emotionally and financially. As students, we have kept Conn popular and exciting by first deciding to enroll and by becoming active members of our community inside the classroom and out." President Leo I. Higdon Jr., Dean of the Faculty Roger Brooks and Assistant Professor of Classics Eric Adler '95 also spoke at Convocation, and Dean of the College Armando Bengochea led the new students in the matriculation pledge. The event concluded with an all campus picnic.