“I just received a message from air traffic control. They have cleared us to take off. Let the journey begin.
This is how Brian J. Bruess, Ph.D. – the first joint president of Saint-Benoît College and Saint John’s University – welcomed students from both schools during the convocation of all the colleges that joined. is held on Monday morning (August 29) at Saint John’s Abbey and University Church.
The ceremony officially opened the 2022-23 academic year. And, for the first time, it was held jointly instead of having separate convocations on each campus. It is part of the continued journey towards strong integration – the title used to describe the new governance and leadership structure of the two schools.
This is not a merger, but rather a natural extension and strengthening of relations between institutions, whose classes and faculty departments have already been integrated for a long time.
“Today we meet for the first time together,” Bruess said. “Saint Ben’s and Saint John’s in one call. While each year we will alternate the physical location of the convocation, leveraging the power of location from both campuses, we will forever celebrate the opening of the academic year together.
Continuing the flight metaphor, incoming CSB Student Senate President Andrenique Rolle and incoming SJU Student Senate President Durran Thompson acted as stewardesses, welcoming students aboard CSB and SJU experience.
“We appreciate your decision to fly with us today,” Rolle said. “Our flight time will be about four years at cruising altitude.”
Rolle urged students to take advantage of all the help available to them on both campuses.
“These life rafts are the resources we have on campus,” she said. “Campus resources are designed to facilitate college. But that’s only the case if you take advantage of it. Remember that every student needs help at some point. Taking advantage of these resources doesn’t mean you’re failing college. This means that you know how to take advantage of the plethora of resources that you have already paid for.
Thompson spoke about the sense of community that exists at CSB and SJU.
“Looking at today’s flight manifest, we can see that there are passengers coming from various places around the world,” he said. “However, on this flight, we are one. We are a community. A community full of dynamic students. We ask you not to isolate yourself. We want you to branch out and get involved. But above all, we want you to be true to yourself.
Rolle and Thompson were followed by Corrie Gross, assistant professor of environmental studies, who delivered the convening address. She told incoming students that faculty and staff are ready to help them as they begin their academic journey.
“Come find us,” she said. “Ask questions. Be curious. Build relationships. Together we have a lot of power.
Bruess called on every member of the CSB and SJU community to continue to do their part to make it a welcoming place for all.
“As we begin this academic year, let us remember our Benedictine tradition,” he said. “Including the values of listening, hospitality and the inherent dignity of each individual. Let’s challenge ourselves to ensure that our words and actions help make our community respectful and welcoming to all who choose to work, live and study here.