Students gathered in Rice Auditorium on Tuesday, Sept. 11, to celebrate the start of the 2018-19 academic year. Baker University President Lynne Murray began the celebration by welcoming students, faculty, and staff to the ceremony, especially Baker’s newest class.

“I want to tell you all how proud I am of all of you,” Dr. Murray said, “and the excitement I have for you as you take your first steps in your Baker University journey.”

Dr. Darcy Russell addressed the audience during her first convocation in her new role as the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Her advice to Baker’s first-year students was to try new things in order to gain a better appreciation of the world around them.

“One thing I want you to do, if you can, is go outside of your comfort zone . . . and find something you thought you would never do, and do that thing,” Dr. Russel said. “Give it a shot. . .  You might find it adds joy to your life.”

She encouraged students in the middle of their Baker career to keep pushing themselves to be their very best in their area of study. Finally, she urged Baker seniors, as they prepare for the next chapter of their lives, to learn about and get to know people whohave experiences different from their own.

Four keynote speakers—Dr. Amy Wintermantel, associate professor of education, Dr. Ryan Gibb, assistant professor of international studies and political science, Dr. Joe Watson, professor of mass media, and Caringtyn Julian, student body president—each spoke about what a specific part of the College of Arts and Sciences mission statement meant to them. They suggested that students use Baker’s mission to guide them to achieve their best on and off campus.

“We’re growing our person, which doesn’t have a set curriculum, like a syllabus, on what to do,” Dr. Wintermantel said. “What are we doing to help our world be a better place? . . . Hopefully, when you’re thinking intentionally and purposefully about developing who you are as a person . . . you’re thinking “what is beneficial to the person sitting next to me?’”

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