Convocation welcomes freshmen as they officially become Corban students and invites sophomores, juniors and seniors to celebrate the upcoming year.
And there I was, in the senior section, marveling at the ceremony unfolding before me and the people around me who are so close to finishing this race. However, unlike so many of my peers, this was my first time attending Convocation.
I came to Corban as a transfer student in a spring semester, so I missed my “freshman” convocation. For whatever reason, my sophomore year I decided not to attend. Since I am graduating this spring, I thought it would be time for me to finally attend my school’s convocation.
When I walked into the beyond capacity Psalm Center, I made my way over to the senior section. I was filled with as much anticipation as any freshman as I listened to the bagpipes and struggled to shout hellos to my friend sitting next to me.
In Corban-like fashion, the ceremony lacked a solemn or ostentatious atmosphere. Instead, it was filled with cheers and clapping as the professors, led by Jim Hills, marched proudly clad in colorful gowns.
President Nord spoke with eloquence and an occasional tear. ASB president Helena Miller addressed the student body with enthusiasm and empowerment. The students pledged commitment to excellence and example to each other. We sang. We clapped — and kept clapping for our favorite professors and our own class of peers.
I saw what everybody already knew: Convocation is the best way to start the school year reminding us of our privilege as college students and our enthusiasm to be back in the Corban community.
As I stood shoulder to shoulder with my colleagues and friends reciting a pledge, the words to which I have already forgotten, I felt the church of Christ come to earth. It was in these moments when we proudly declared “Corban” that we stood unified recognizing what our school’s name symbolizes and what our lives as students and people will be: a gift dedicated to God.
We stood unified despite any problems we have with the administration or with each other personally. We stood unified despite the cultural, gender, ethnic, political and even religious differences we have. We stood unified as we promised to seek out God’s truth and see his wisdom revealed. We stood unified despite controversy, disagreements, brokenness and hurt.
The peak of the event came when an angelic choir of voices filled the chapel with “Be Thou My Vision.”
In all this, Corban’s mission to follow God’s heart was revealed.
As I stood staring at the small coin of remembrance I received, I realized how blessed I was to experience Convocation fully. I was awestruck by the ceremony and felt no feeling of monotony. Although I wish I could have experienced Convocation for all four years, I am still thankful this convocation was my first. I hope we all continue to embrace this ceremony of unification.
Here’s to a God-honoring, unified academic year. May Christ’s heart be revealed as it was at Convocation.
(Photos by Ramona Hernandez and Kira McClary)