Convocation Celebrates Learning and Teaching

August 29, 2012

In marking the start of the new school year at Academic Convocation, students, faculty, staff and alumni gathered to dedicate and rededicate themselves to the pursuit of learning and teaching.

On August 28 in the Sports Complex, the community formally welcomed the Class of 2016, saluted the Class of 2013, honored Professor John Golden, learned about the value of curiosity from Professor Magda James-Pederson, heard first-hand advice from students, and joined in prayer as the 2012-2013 academic year got underway.

Professor Golden Receives Hegarty Award

Associate Professor and Chair of Foreign Languages John Golden received this year's Louise F. Hegarty Award for Excellence in Teaching, which is given annually to the faculty member whose teaching has had a marked influence on the lives of Stonehill students.

Professor Golden has taught at the College since 1998 and is the 24th recipient of the Hegarty Award. In presenting the award to him, Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Joseph Favazza read excerpts from faculty and student nominations. They are as follows:

Praising Professor Golden

Every morning I show up at German; no matter how bleak the day or how stressful the week, Professor Golden puts a smile on my face.  I have learned more German in two semesters than I thought I was capable of in a lifetime, and I have Professor Golden to thank for that!

I have been in two of his German courses and experienced his out-of-the-ordinary teaching techniques, his dedication to his students, and his love of teaching. Professor Golden gets all his students to contribute to the class conversations in a way that feels like talking amongst equals.

I can personally attest to . . . his visibly positive and enthusiastic approach to teaching and learning.  He is a great motivator, upbeat, and readily available to students and fellow teachers.  It is not uncommon to find him in his office preparing his courses on Sundays.  The card listing his office hours this semester reads: "If I'm not in class, I'm here from about 9.30-6.00!"

There is a Facebook group dedicated to this man with over 100 students in it.  It is titled: "Professor Golden is the Man-woohooo!"  I don't know of any other professor with a fan club.  The description reads: "For all those who have known the wonder, the merriment, and the laughter of John Golden."

Three days a week I leave Duffy 118 just as John Golden is entering. . . [,] enthusiastic about what he'll be accomplishing with his German class. John is seemingly indefatigable, a "multi-tasker." On one occasion, as we met in that ships-passing-in-the-day ritual, I groused about the tourists clogging the hallways, and John pointed to his badge as an Admissions greeter.  His dedication to Stonehill and its academic programs is demonstrated every day and should be acknowledged appropriately in a historic way.

In his brief acceptance remarks, Golden, who earlier this year received the Faculty Service Award, paid tribute to his academic colleagues when delivered the following line, "the faculty at Stonehill College are the best bunch of teachers I have ever, ever seen!" To read Professor Golden's citation, visit here.

Student-to-Student Advice

Before she introduced last year's Hagarty winner Professor Pederson for her keynote presentation, Alicia DeColli '13 advised the Class of 2016 on passion, setbacks and faculty. She encouraged students to "do what you love," to pick themselves up and rebound after setbacks, and "to get to know your professors."

Don't Leave Your Dorm Without Curiosity

In her remarks, Professor Pederson challenged students to bring their curiosity, which is a hunger for exploration and learning, to everything they encounter on campus during their four years here.

"You need to show up to class eager to learn about the natural world around you, about the cultures of the world, and even about your own human existence. Bring your hungry mind even to those courses that are not part of your major. When you bring your curious energy to class, you inspire others around you. You even inspire your professors," she explained.

In discussing curiosity, Pederson highlighted a former student Kate Sullivan '12 whose inquisitiveness prompted her to study and research tropical diseases. Today, Sullivan is putting her knowledge to use in Haiti where she helps patients who experience swelling of their lymph nodes as a result of a parasite infection.

Pederson told the students that every one of them has the potential to make a difference like Kate Sullivan. Curiosity, she said is key, "don't leave your dorm without it." To read her remarks in full, visit here.

Ames Shovel Presentation

Senior Class President Lindsey Beauregard '13 announced the Class of 2013 shovel selection, a tradition which celebrates the College's historical connection to the Ames Shovel Company.

She chose an Ames farming shovel, making a connection with The Farm at Stonehill, which is now in its second year and which serves neighbors in need by providing them with access to fresh fruits and vegetables,

"Like The Farm at Stonehill, the Stonehill community ranging from our professors, advisors, administrators, resident directors and peers have all helped us grow into the people we are today," said Beauregard. To read her remarks in full, visit here.

Alumni Welcome

Alumni Council member Jacquelyn Tracy '88 officially welcomed the Class of 2016 to Stonehill on behalf of the College's 24,000 alumni, presenting them with their silver pins. Tracy also presented golden pins to the senior class in recognition of their academic achievements. The golden pins will be worn by the seniors at graduation in May.

Historic Class of 2016

The Class of 2016 is distinguished by being the largest and most diverse in Stonehill history, said President Mark Cregan, C.S.C. in his address.

Noting that the College is embarking on its 65th academic year, Fr. Cregan, told the Class of 2016 that their "talents and gifts add to the Stonehill story and to the College's history."

He welcomed them to Stonehill's community of "scholarship and faith" and he assured them that faculty and staff are here to help them at an individual level to succeed on their intellectual journey.

In concluding, Fr. Cregan encouraged the students to "go and discover the next steps in your journey and do not be shy in your explorations."

Student Katerine Stout '13 gave the invocation while the College's new Vice President for Mission Rev. James Lies, C.S.C. gave the benediction. Music was provided by the Stonehill College Concert Band, the Orchestra, the Collegiate Chorale, and the Chapel Choir.


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