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Traditional convocation ceremony opens academic year

Friday, August 19, 2011

FREDERICK, Md.—Hood College will mark the start of its 119th academic year not only with its annual convocation ceremony but also with a historical milestone and two new first-year student initiatives.

Hood College President Ronald J. Volpe, Ph.D., will welcome nearly 2,300 new and returning students to campus Aug. 22 at 10 a.m. in the college’s Hodson Outdoor Theater. The student population includes nearly 320 new first-year students, 200 new graduate students and 130 undergraduate students who have transferred to Hood from two-year and other four-year institutions. This is the first time the college has enrolled consecutive first-year classes of more than 300 students.

Katherine Conway-Turner, Ph.D., provost and vice president of academic affairs, will recognize outstanding student achievements and David Gurzick, assistant professor of management, will give the keynote address. He will speak about the impact of today’s technologies on the college learning environment.

The ceremony will also be filled with tradition, including the customary candle-lighting ceremony. Members of the class of 2015 will recite the Hood Honor Code Pledge and, in recognition of attaining senior status and their forthcoming transition from students to alumni, each member of the senior class will receive a class pin from Hood’s alumni executive board.

Thanks to the support of the estate of a Hood alumna, this summer first-year students received Apple iPads, a lightweight tablet computer that is controlled by a touch display. They will be the first group of Hood students to use and assess its effectiveness as an academic tool. Faculty will use the portable tablet to implement innovative technology into their classroom instruction, and the device will give students easy access to and the use of e-books and e-mail, the Internet and thousands of other applications.

The new first-year read program, also initiated this past summer, is designed to provoke discussion and broaden students’ understanding of the world. During the summer, students read Khaled Hosseini’s "A Thousand Splendid Suns" and, during orientation, will participate in small group discussions about the themes, issues and conflicts raised in the book. Where appropriate, faculty will incorporate those topics in their classes throughout the fall semester. In addition, Hosseini will visit classes Oct. 26 to discuss the book’s themes and will give a lecture as part of The Hanson Lecture Series, established by a Hood alumna through The Foundation for Enhancing Communities, one of the oldest charitable community foundations in the country.