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ISSUE 118 VOL 1 PUBLISHED 9/17/2004

Convocation encourages respect

By Cate Grochala
Staff Writer

Friday, September 17, 2004

President Thomforde presided over the opening convocation to celebrate the start of a new school year on Thursday, Sept. 9. Professor of history Robert Nichols gave the keynote address for the annual ceremony, held in Boe Chapel. St. Olaf students, faculty and administration filled the chapel.

The St. Olaf Band opened the service with "Fanfare and Grand March," written by conductor Dr. Timothy Mahr. As the band played, St. Olaf faculty and administrators processed to the front of the chapel in traditional academic robes. Associate Pastor Jennifer Koenig then led an opening prayer for the new academic year.

Seth Heringer 05, president of Student Government Association, gave a brief welcome address, sharing his experience traveling to St. Olaf sitting next to an army chaplain.

Heringer and the chaplain discussed the situation in Iraq and a soldier's call to fight for freedom. The chaplain described the necessity of soldiers being supported, even by those with a different calling.

Heringer closed his speech by challenging and reminding students and faculty to show respect for the armed forces and the freedom for which they are fighting.

Following an introduction by Dean and Provost James May, Nichols gave the keynote address. He began by expressing his gratitude for the opportunity to speak at the convocation, and named former colleagues who had helped him throughout his 32 years at the college.

Nichols shared the poem "Ithaca" by the Greek poet Constantine Cavafy, based on the travels of Odysseus.

Using the poem as the center of his address, Nichols noted its themes of courage and learning on a journey. Nichols observed that embarking on a new school year should be like embarking on the journey to Ithaca, described in the poem as "full of knowledge, full of discovery" with "thoughts raised high."

In his conclusion, he expressed the hope that students, faculty, and administrators would find their way through the new year, and enjoy the new experiences they may encounter.

Students and faculty sang the college hymn after Nichol's address, and Pastor Koenig led the benediction. Sigfrid Karg-Elerts "Praise the Lord with Drums and Cymbals," performed by the St. Olaf Band filled the chapel as faculty and administrators processed out of the chapel.

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