Tuesday, September 30, 2014

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First official day of classes kicks off with thought-provoking words and major announcements.
The convocation candle lighting ceremony.

A standing ovation for the opening song Somewhere Over the Rainbow provided a strong indicator of the positive energy felt inside the Bastyr University Chapel at the 2014 Convocation ceremony. The uplifting performance by Pastor Patrinell Wright, founder of Total Experience Gospel Choir, kicked off the official start to the new academic year and an inspiring convocation led by Bastyr University President Daniel K. Church, PhD.

“Don’t just get jobs and careers, contribute to the promotion of a more just and humane society. Take on roles of leadership and service,” said Dr. Church, referencing the mission statement of Xavier University of Louisiana and applying it to the Bastyr community.

To that end, President Church unveiled the Bastyr University Commitments, a list of five targets for which the community should continually strive: Academic Rigor, Effective Communication, Respectful Behavior, Intercultural Awareness and Social Justice.

Specifically, President Church touched upon the inequities in the United States when it comes to health services, noting that 5 percent of the population spends about 50 percent of all health care costs. He challenged Bastyr students to “remove the obstacles to cure” and not only become excellent health care providers, but also help those who need it the most in underserved communities.

As part of Bastyr’s mission to prepare competent and confident health care leaders, President Church announced the establishment of a new Center for Social Justice and Diversity, to be led by professors Daniel C. Rosen, PhD and Christy D. Hofsess, PhD.

The convocation then moved onto a traditional candle-lighting ceremony during Pastor Wright’s rendition of This Little Light of Mine, as President Church invigorated those in attendance by telling them he was “Proud and confident you will change the world for good.”

Other Items of Note from Convocation:

  • As in years past, the chapel was filled to capacity with students, faculty and staff.
  • This was the first time the public got a chance to hear the chapel’s new organ. The Rodgers 4589, which was played at the start of the ceremony, was installed over the summer and is on loan for a year.
  • Pastor Wright received Presidential Citation for Exemplary Service, having performed at numerous Bastyr convocations.
  • Bastyr University’s San Diego campus, which also kicked off its start of classes, recently celebrated its two year anniversary in September.