Transform. Learn. Dream. These were the simple yet powerful directives Wiley's President and CEO, Dr. Haywood L. Strickland, gave to new and returning students during Tuesday morning's Fall Convocation in the Julius S. Scott Sr. Chapel.
" Dream mightily," Dr. Strickland said during his first official address to the full campus body. "Don't let anyone curtail your dreams."
Along with giving directives to the students, Wiley's 16th president told them how to carry them out. "Behold your faculty. Respect your faculty," he said. "The demands they make of you will be many. You will want to resist and to rebel," he said. "Be still and receive the dividends of their wisdom and knowledge. You will be thankful for doing so."
Dr. Strickland told students that to gain the most from their college experience they must be open vessels that are eager to learn and transform into achievers who refuse to be defined by their backgrounds or where they are from.
"Regardless of where you come from, don't let your environment contain you," he said. "College is the place to change the way you dress and to change your heart, mind, and soul. You should leave Wiley transformed from who you were when you first arrived on this campus," Dr. Strickland said. "You were born with wings. You will have to learn to use them to fly."
In addition to receiving Dr. Strickland's message at convocation, students heard greetings from Wiley administrator Dr. Joseph L. Morale, Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Services; faculty member Jane Munksgaard, Instructor of Mass Communications; and Miss Wiley College-Elect, senior Shammia Williams. Students were also treated to musical performances by the College's A Cappella Choir under the direction of Stephen L. Hayes. New students in attendance at the event stood to recite a pledge to strive to excel in their studies and to graduate with distinction as critical thinkers.
More than 600 filled the College's chapel to observe and celebrate the President's Fall Convocation.