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.”