St. Olaf College | News

St. Olaf ushers in new academic year with Opening Convocation

St. Olaf College ushered in a new academic year on Thursday, September 5, with its annual Opening Convocation in Boe Memorial Chapel.

Faculty processed in academic regalia, and Student Government Association President Devon Dyer Nielsen ’20 welcomed the congregation.

Associate Professor of Religion David Booth delivered an Opening Convocation address titled “What Sort of Excellence?” that connected St. Olaf’s treasured tradition of excellence to the challenge of contemporary ecological crises.

“At this single moment, we should notice both the panic of unprecedented threats to our human habitat, and the joy of renewing our common academic life,” Booth noted in his address. “Let’s live that paradox to its fullest. Let’s rejoice in the pleasure of classes, labs, and studios. Let’s study hard. Let’s teach well. Let’s cherish the singular friendships that grow in the midst of our work. But let us not suppress the knowledge that we do this work in a time of emergency.  Let’s turn the manifold blessings of our life together towards brave, uncompromising work on this threat — each of us in our own area, and with our own gifts, and with unprecedented vigor to meet an unprecedented threat. Let’s make sure that the excellence we pursue is the excellence we need.”

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