Allegheny College President James Mullen delivered a speech during Allegheny’s Academic Convocation and Matriculation Ceremony August 26.
In his speech, Mullen asked students to learn how to respectfully engage in debate of controversial ideas, and reminded them of the legacy of the college.
“Conducting ourselves with civility, with integrity, is not only an expectation we set for ourselves, it is our responsibility to the generation of Alleghenians who have preceded us,” Mullen said. “We are joined to and accountable to those generations of Allegnehians who have shaped their professions, those who have shaped history, and those who have worked tirelessly, yet unassumingly, to make a difference in their communities and their world.”
Mullen reserved a special word for the parents of incoming students.
“I know that this is a moment filled with many emotions for you,” Mullen said.
Mullen described how the recent rally in Charlottesville, Virginia was at odds with his vision of Allegheny’s mission.
“Ours is a place where we believe hate diminishes community, that no person is supreme over another, and that an injustice against one of us is an injustice against all of us,” Mullen said. “Our statement of community is more than just words on a page. It represents the expectations that we hold for each other and the responsibility every one of us shares to bring these values to life.”
Other notable Allegheny administrators and staff members spoke during the ceremony.
Provost and Dean of the College Ron Cole called on the incoming class to learn from each other.
“You’re joining a community,” Cole said. “Each of you brings your unique academic interests, life experiences and cultures.”
The ceremony began with a processional, as international students carried the flags of their home countries to the podium. Chaplain Jane Ellen Nickell gave a short invocation, then the speeches began.
Allegheny Student Government President Mark MacStudy, ’18, spoke first. Following MacStudy was Cornell LeSane, vice president for enrollment and dean of admissions.
After Cole’s speech, Professor of Political Science Howard Tamashiro gave remarks. Sarah McLafferty, ’18, an Allegheny Honor Committee co-chair, administered the honor code.
After Mullen’s remarks, Vice President of Student Life and Dean of Students Kimberly Scott spoke. The event ended with a rendition of the alma mater.
Trevor Mahan, ’21 stated that Mullen’s remarks pleased and inspired him.
“If anything, I just feel inspired to join a new community, not just here at Allegheny, but here in Meadville as well,” Mahan said.