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Convocation & Community Picnic Kick Off 2014-15 Academic Year


Convocation & Community Picnic Kick Off 2014-15 Academic Year

Fanfare and Festivities Greet New and Returning Students

August 27, 2014

Johnson State College celebrated new and returning students and the first day of classes for the 2014-15 academic year on Monday, Aug. 25, with a festive Convocation ceremony followed by a community picnic on the quad.

Led by bagpipers from the St. Andrew’s Pipe Band of Vermont, new students processed to JSC’s Dibden Center for the Arts, where faculty and staff formed a welcome cordon.

Following the singing of the Alma Mater by the JSC Chorale, President Barbara E. Murphy gave a special welcome to members of the Class of 2018, JSC returning students, and the college’s six new faculty members starting this semester. It was a bittersweet moment for Murphy, for whom Convocation is a favorite annual event – as it will be her last. After 14 years leading JSC, she will retire at the end of the academic year.

Academic Dean Dan Regan introduced the faculty speaker, Dr. Robert Genter, professor of environmental and health sciences, who was returning after a year’s sabbatical.

Genter gave a presentation titled “What I Think About When I Study Diatoms,” which reviewed his work with JSC student assistants studying a form of algae found on river rocks — all part of his research since 2008 into the water quality of streams in the Lamoille River basin.

“Diatoms are important because they are at the base of the food chain, and along with the other kinds of algae they produce half of the world’s oxygen that we breathe – so every second breath, thank the algae,” he continued. He discovered that a diverse variety of diatoms are found in healthy rivers and streams, while polluted waterways can have only one type of diatom.

Noting that “the Earth needs your help,” Genter said he considers his students the hope of the future. He advised students to “turn over rocks” to find their passion and to join in efforts to “leave a more natural planet for our grandchildren and their grandchildren.”

As convocation ended, first-year students rushed off to meet with their advisors before returning to the quad for a community picnic under sunny skies – the first of several special “Welcome Week” events filling each day through Sunday, Aug. 31.

Read remarks by President Barbara E. Murphy See Dr. Genter’s PowerPoint presentation Also: Read remarks by President Murphy to Incoming Students at Orientation on Sunday, Aug. 24