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First-year students took time to introduce themselves and learn about each other during Northwest's annual convocation Sunday afternoon in Bearcat Arena. (Photos by Todd Weddle/Northwest Missouri State University)

First-year students took time to introduce themselves and learn about each other during Northwest's annual convocation Sunday afternoon in Bearcat Arena. (Photos by Todd Weddle/Northwest Missouri State University)

Aug. 26, 2018

Convocation welcomes first-year students, sets expectations


The Bearcat Marching Band played for first year students during Sunday's convocation.

The Bearcat Marching Band played for first year students during Sunday's convocation.

Students walked through the base of the Memorial Bell Tower at the center of campus on Sunday afternoon to commemorate the start of entrance into the Bearcat family.

Students walked through the base of the Memorial Bell Tower at the center of campus on Sunday afternoon to commemorate the start of entrance into the Bearcat family.

Students interacted with local businesses during Saturday's Merchant Fair.

Students interacted with local businesses during Saturday's Merchant Fair.

More than 1,300 new Northwest Missouri State University students capped their first weekend on the campus and launched their legacies as Bearcats Sunday afternoon during the annual new student convocation.

Academic leaders encouraged students to engage and be involved in the Northwest community during the welcome event. They outlined the expectations for being a Bearcat – to learn, connect, care, practice civility and show pride – and provided advice to the new students. They implored students to take responsibility for their academic and personal success during their years at Northwest and beyond and encouraged students to ask for help when things aren’t going so great.

“At Northwest Missouri State University, we are here to assist you and to engage with you,” Northwest President Dr. John Jasinski told the gathering in Bearcat Arena. “We invite you to do the same. Engage with us and assist us in helping you succeed because our mission is to focus on student success – every student, every day. That’s our pledge to each and every one of you and our convocation is our way of formally introducing you to Northwest Missouri State University.  

In her welcome remarks to the students, Northwest Student Senate President Alyssa Lincoln, a senior biology and psychology major from Omaha, Nebraska, encouraged the first-year students to relish the experiences they’ll have at Northwest. She compared the year to reading a favorite book for the first time – noting it can be life-changing, but it only happens once.

“You will thoroughly enjoy every minute of your nine months here, cherishing and basking in friendships, opportunities and growth,” Lincoln said. “And then all of a sudden, without even slowing anything down one bit, you are packing everything back into your little car with a Bearcat pawprint on the back window.

Provost Dr. Jamie Hooyman, the University’s chief academic officer, echoed those sentiments, asking students to be wise, responsible and kind. She encouraged students to take care of their minds, bodies and spirit, go to classes, do their homework and commit to daily random acts of kindness.

Sunday’s convocation and the traditional March to the Tower – during which new students parade under the Memorial Bell Tower at the center of campus as a symbolic beginning of their time at Northwest – was the culmination of Northwest’s annual Advantage week, which is a continuation of the University’s summer orientation programming. The weekend, which started Thursday with the new students’ moving to campus residence halls, provides freshmen and transfer students with opportunities to meet people, learn more about the campus and its traditions, and adjust to their new environment before fall classes begin.

As they enjoyed ice cream and socialized on the campus lawn afterward, the new students reflected on the weekend, the formation of friendships and their exploration of the campus.

It’s really a positive campus,” Paige Willman, a biology major from Troy, Missouri, said. “The people are really friendly and make you feel welcome like a family.”

Marquel Pilgram, a pre-nursing major from Kansas City, echoed that statement.

“The people are cool,” he said. “The town is really involved in campus, and there’s so much to do. I’m ready to grow up and see what I can do on my own, being away from parents.”

Advantage includes educational activities mixed with cultural presentations and fun entertainment for students. This year, students enjoyed movie nights, ice cream socials, motivational speakers, a trivia contest and arcade night. Northwest capped the weekend with the annual back-to-school fireworks show Sunday night at College Park.

Additionally, Northwest planted a tree in honor of the freshman class, continuing a University tradition that is now in its 10th year and aligns with the campus’ legacy as the Missouri Arboretum. The scarlet oak tree is planted east of the Thomas Gaunt House.

“The thing about trees is they are resilient,” Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Matt Baker said. “They are strong. They bend but they don’t break. They stand firm in the bitter cold winters and the howling wind out of the north. They thrive in many types of conditions, and they’re beautiful throughout the good weather of the spring and summer. Trees require nurturing and support. Sometimes they need some pruning, but they are responsible for growing themselves and they take on the world in their own way. This is similar to starting your career at Northwest.”


For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468