First-year students were encouraged Monday to expand their horizons and commit to their studies over the next four years at East Carolina University.
One part pep talk and one part pep rally, the annual New Student Welcome and Convocation in Minges Coliseum featured addresses by university administrators, performances by marching band members and the Magnolia Belles singers, and introductions to athletics staff and Pirate traditions.
ECU Pirate football players enjoy the pep rally that followed Student Convocation.
“It is our pleasure to have you here in the Pirate family,” said Virginia Hardy, vice chancellor of Student Affairs. She urged the 4,000 students in attendance to think about why they selected East Carolina and what they want to accomplish here.
“Our number one goal is your success,” said Chancellor Steve Ballard. “We want to be your partner to realize your dreams, your degree and what you want out of a college education.”
Both administrators told students they were joining a university that is committed to academic excellence, leadership development and service to the community and region.
Students were also encouraged to step out of their comfort zone and find where their talents and passion lie. They might find a calling in an unexpected place, said Bob Kusbit, guest speaker at convocation.
“College helped me find out what I was good at, step out of who I’d always been and become someone new,” he said.
Kusbit has spent 30 years working in television with many of those years creating shows for MTV. Among his accomplishments is the documentary-style show “MADE,” which gives high school and college students the chance to break out of the social role they’re most comfortable in and receive celebrity coaching to achieve something new – being a triathlete or a rap artist or a fashion stylist, for instance.
A climber scales the rock wall during Pirate Palooza.
“Take this time to try new things,” Kusbit said. “Quit being afraid to try something because you think you might look stupid…or you might fail at it.
“You can start your own MADE today when you walk out those doors.”
ECU Athletics Director Jeff Compher took the stage next to introduce the varsity sports coaches. Compher noted it is also his first year at East Carolina.
“We are so proud of the support we get from our passionate fans and that begins with you, our students,” he said. “I want you to have passion for your schoolwork, for your athletic teams and for each other.”
Also congratulated Monday were the faculty and staff member nominated for making the biggest difference in first-year students’ lives during the first semester of the 2012-2013 academic year. Student Government Association President Tim Schwan presented the Freshman-First Year Advocate Award to Stephen Gray, director of student services in the Department for Disability Support Services; and Dr. Todd Fraley, associate professor in the School of Communication and faculty fellow at ECU’s Honors College.
Pirate Palooza, an annual carnival-style welcome celebration held at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, followed convocation. Classes at ECU start Aug. 20.
Pictured below, students move in to campus for the fall semester.