Fall Convocation begins year

Ashley Dumke

Ashley Dumke

“It is a great day to be a Jackrabbit,” President David L. Chicoine stated as he welcomed a yellow t-shirt-clad class of 2011 to the campus of South Dakota State University at the first ever Jackrabbit Convocation.

The event, which was held late Tuesday afternoon, began in Frost Arena with a formal Convocation ceremony. Several faculty members and staff dressed in regalia were present to ring in the new school year. President Chicoine, Students’ Association President Alex Brown and Academic Senate President Madeleine Andrawis welcomed the students to SDSU.

President Chicoine challenged students to take full advantage of all opportunities available to them, as well as returning to this campus as sophomores, while Brown encouraged all students to get involved.

Two faculty members, Laura Diddle-Hildebrant, associate professor of music, and Tim Nichols, assistant dean of the College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences, were also asked to speak during the ceremony. Diddle highlighted the unique relationship of students and teachers on our campus and noted how our differences are what pull us together. Nichols pushed students to open their minds and hearts to all that SDSU has to offer and have real-life experiences. Students were then given the traditional South Dakota State University coins, which they placed in a well as the event continued at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium. The coins will be returned to the class when they cross the stage at graduation.

The second part of the Jackrabbit Convocation, an all-university Welcome Back Bash at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium, got underway with a free picnic and inflatable games. SDSU student and the 2008 Miss Rodeo South Dakota Lady-in-Waiting Tara Trask hosted a Pep Rally program that included messages from Head Football Coach John Stiegelmeier and Women’s Head Basketball Coach Aaron Johnston, music from the Pep Band and information on Hobo Day 2007. The night concluded with a live concert by country artist Lady Antebellum and a free showing of the movie “Knocked Up.”

“[It was] a nice way to introduce students to faculty,” freshman pharmacy major Danielle Moeller said. “It’s nice to know the faculty is friendly and pushing for you to succeed.”

The Jackrabbit Convocation was a new effort for the SDSU campus. In previous years the student alumni group, Staters for State, had sponsored the welcome back event “A STATEly Beginning,” with a UPC sponsored Welcome Back Bash directly following.

“The idea for a formal convocation came from the President’s Office,” says Adam Karnopp, chairperson of the committee formed to put the Jackrabbit Convocation together. He noted that Fall Convocation is standard among many universities and hopes this will be an annual tradition for years to come. Many departments and organizations came together to put this event on, including the Provost Office, the Academics

Office, the Admissions Office, Aramark, Residential Life, Staters for State, UPC, the Music Department, the Athletic Department and others.

Jim Speirs, advisor to Staters for State, thinks the Jackrabbit Convocation is a great addition to the school year. “It says something about the university when everyone can work together to create an event like this,” he said.

#1.883376:2259726446.jpg:convocationwideangle.jpg:Frost Arena was filled Tuesday with professors in regalia and students in yellow during the Fall Convocation.: