SDSU hosts first in-person convocation since 2019

Students+and+families+gather+for+convocation+in+Cal+Coast+Credit+Union+Open+Air+Theatre.

Adam Correa

Students and families gather for convocation in Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theatre.

by Adam Correa, Contributor

At 5:30 p.m, Friday, Aug. 20 the Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theatre filled with incoming students from the Professional Studies and Fine Arts and College of Sciences departments. 

Randal Timm, Dean of Students, made an introductory speech and welcomed SDSU Ambassador Natalie Soriano to the stage to sing the national anthem.

Timm then introduced James Alvarado Waipuk, Chair of Tribal Relations, to present a speech on Kumeyaay Land Acknowledgement.

“We stand upon a land that carries the footsteps of millennia of Kumeyaay people,” Waipuk said. He explained the importance of the Kumeyaay and how wearing black and red is a part of the Kumeyaay legacy.

Dr. Adela de la Torre, the SDSU President, gave a welcoming presidential address to the new incoming students. 

“Family celebrations and community building have always been an important part of my life,” de la Torre said.

De la Torre said that the SDSU campus is going to be a healthier and safer environment for students to return to in-person learning. 

“More than 94 percent of our students are vaccinated against COVID-19 and the vast majority of our faculty and staff are also vaccinated,” de la Torre said. The students that aren’t vaccinated due to medical reasons or religious reasons will be regularly tested.

De la Torre finished up her presidential address by talking about the past alumni students and some of their greatest accomplishments and she told the new students they can be as great as our past alumni.

Provost and Senior Vice President Salvador Hector Ochoa spoke about how as new students, we shouldn’t rely on our parents or professors, we need to rely on ourselves. 

“Strive for excellence and extinguish yourself as a scholar, leader and global citizen,” Ochoa said. 

Ochoa then introduced Peggy Shannon, the Dean of Professional Studies and Fine Arts (PSFA), and Tracy Love, the Dean for College of Graduate Studies. Jeffrey Roberts, Dean for College of Sciences, was acknowledged.

Associated Students President, Ashley Tejada, opened her speech by saying how she wasn’t any different from the new incoming students.  

“Today however I would rather you think of me as a fellow SDSU student, this is because my SDSU journey that got me where I’m today, started in the same place you are at this very moment,” Tejada said. 

Tejada said she came to SDSU as an undeclared freshman, lacking direction but had a lot of love and support around her that she had easy access to. She thanked her parents and brother for always being there for her.

Tejeda acknowledged her fellow executive officers as part of Associated Students because they have helped advocate and preserve the student voice.

Students were asked by Tejada to stand and read the Aztec Declaration by New Students. The Declaration shows the importance of the phrase “Mexica Tiahui”, which means “Always Moving Forward.”  

Dr. J. Luke Wood, Vice President for Student Affairs and Campus Diversity, talked about the importance of reaching out to faculty for help and guidance. 

Lisa and Chris Manzuk, Aztec Parents Advisory Board Members, said that over time as Aztec parents, they have seen a huge amount of family and community support. They had the students stand up and put the Aztec pin apart from the tassel, on the left side of the family member’s shoulder signifying them as an Aztec parent.

The ceremony came to a close with the singing of the SDSU Alma Mater by Soriano. Timm recessed the presidential party off stage and the ceremony was finished.

Colin Taquino, a Recording Technology and Sound Design Student at SDSU, was glad to be back at in-person events. Taquino was asked what he was most looking forward to this school year.

 “Just meeting the sea of people that are coming to school with me and meeting all these new faces and having all these new experiences that are waiting for me here at college,” Taquino said.

James Ardilla, a Computer Science major at SDSU, said that he is very excited to be back in-person and see people again.

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