MTSU Convocation kicks off fall semester


MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee gives welcoming remarks during the 2013 MTSU Convocation ceremony held Sunday, Aug. 25, at Murphy Center. (MTSU / J. Intintoli)
MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee gives welcoming remarks during the 2013 MTSU Convocation ceremony held Sunday, Aug. 25, at Murphy Center. (MTSU / J. Intintoli)

Faculty and student leaders joined together Sunday to welcome incoming freshmen and transfer students during the university’s 103 convocation in the Murphy Athletic Center.

“Today is the day you become one of us,” said Debra Sells when she welcomed the new student body. She is currently the  vice president of Student Affairs.

University president Sidney McPhee introduced keynote address speaker, R. Dwayne Betts, the author for the freshmen’s required summer reading book, “A Question of Freedom.”

“Tomorrow morning, the next chapter of your life truly begins,” Boyd said. “Your exploration for growth, for knowledge, for achievement, starts down a new and exciting path that will take you places that you have only dreamt about.”

Betts was incarcerated at 16 for carjacking and spent nine years in prison, emerging a changed man with a passion for writing and education.

The address focused on Betts’ struggle to become a writer. He also spoke of life lessons learned from becoming a bookstore manager and book club leader.

Betts’s advice to all students was to “tenaciously hold on to the possibility that you don’t yet know what it is you want to do.“ He also stressed that reading is fundamental to prepare for college.

President of the Student Government Association James Lee advised freshmen to “never forget where they came from … understand what life throws at you … and enjoy the unfamiliar.”

The ceremony concluded with the MTSU Fight Song led by the Band of Blue. Attendees gathered at the annual President’s Picnic at Walnut Grove afterward.

Week of Welcome continues Tuesday, Aug. 27 with SGA’s Fight Song Competition, followed by comedian Chris Hardwick’s free performance at the Murphy Center on Wednesday, Aug. 28.

Follow John Connor Coulston on Twitter at @JCCoulston.

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