Convocation kicks off semester for new WVU Tech students
On Saturday, August 13, more than 300 WVU Tech students, staff, faculty, friends and family gathered in Montgomery for the institution’s 2016 convocation ceremony.
The ceremony served as the official welcome for new students from both the Montgomery and Beckley campuses. It also marked the start of WVU Tech three-day orientation program.
In the Baisi gymnasium, campus president Carolyn Long addressed the crowd, offering words of encouragement and advising them to use their time at WVU Tech to find what makes them happiest.
“This is a campus of diverse young men and women and you’re going to learn alongside one another in the years ahead,” she said.
“Many of you will go down paths you never envisioned. My advice to you is that, whatever path you choose, it’s got to be something you have a passion for.”
Dean of students Richard Carpinelli told new students – many of whom had just spent the afternoon moving into their residence hall rooms on both campuses – that they were part of a new collegiate family.
“For many of you, your journey at Tech may be your first time away from home. And while this may be your first time away from home, know that you are not alone. You are now a member of an academic community that cares about you,” he said.
Miriam Cortez, a first-year biology student from Houston, Texas, said had already experienced that family atmosphere for attending convocation.
Cortez spent the previous week on the Beckley campus training for pre-season with the women’s soccer team. She’s been pleased with her experience working with the university and meeting fellow students.
“It’s like they’re introducing us to the school. The coaches are helpful and they bond with us really well. Everybody here has been really nice. They’re good people and they want to make sure we’re all set for the year,” she said.
Michael McKay, a member of the Maryland House of Delegates and a business owner from Cumberland, Maryland, visited campus with his son, Mason. The younger McKay starts his career in civil engineering at WVU Tech this semester.
Michael said his son was attracted to the low student-to-faculty ratio and the national rankings of the university’s engineering programs.
“He was looking for a smaller school. He came from a smaller school setting. He really missed the one-on-one attention and so he was excited about coming here,” he said.
McKay said that traveling into Southern West Virginia, an area known for its coal industry and for the hardworking nature of its people, was symbolic of the experience he expects for Mason.
“Coming from Western Maryland, we have an emphasis on being hardworking,” he said. “I think WVU Tech is going to work very, very hard to put out a quality student.”
During orientation, new students will participate in a number of activities and events designed to get them accustomed to college life and familiar with campus. They attend sessions on academic policies and procedures, managing college stress, campus safety, career readiness and even finance management. They mingle with other newcomers at social events, order books, meet with academic advisors and register for classes.
The program is a welcome to WVU Tech and a welcome home for Will Van Hoose, an incoming freshman with an eye on a mechanical engineering degree and a spot on the WVU Tech wrestling team.
Van Hoose grew up in Ravenswood, West Virginia and moved to South Carolina a few years before graduating high school. Now he’s back in the Mountain State where he’s preparing to launch a career in the racing industry.
“The engineering program at WVU Tech was a big draw for me and I also get the opportunity to wrestle, so it’s perfect. I want to become a mechanical engineer and then I want to go into NASCAR and work as a team engineer. They work on the body and engine to fine-tune the car for each individual track it will race on” he said.
He said he’s excited for the coming days as he becomes acquainted with the campus and meets other students in the program.
“As I’m going through orientation, I’m learning how the flow of campus works and it’ll make getting through the transition from high school to college a little easier,” he said.
Orientation runs until Tuesday, August 16. On the last day of the program, new students will travel in groups to White Sulphur Springs and Belle, West Virginia to assist in flood relief service projects. In Belle, students will assemble furniture donated to flood victims while students in White Sulphur Springs will help with a cleanup and rehabilitation project.