2022 Convocation Ceremony: Author your Future
The years spent in university are some of the most formative and transformative years of your life. Who you start out as will never be who you end up as. By the end of the four years (or five, for our future engineers) life will have thrown at you a few things, both good and bad. That’s not in your control – there’s only so much you can do about it. But guess what? The way you choose to take what life throws at you is entirely up to you. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade or lemon tea, use the lemons as a marinade or for a cake filling. In the same breath, what you come out of university with is squarely in your hands.
This has been the overarching theme of this year’s convocation ceremony.
All dressed up in black and white, the freshmen, gathered at the graduation square on a chilly Thursday morning and became an official part of the Strathmore fraternity. The event began with the academic procession led by a few first year students carrying the banners of their school. It was a beautiful and dramatic sight as they held the vibrant colored banners, topped with shiny gold stands. They were followed by the Deans of the various schools, members of the University Council, Management Board, the University Chair, Vice Chancellor and Pro Chancellor.
A convocation ceremony is very reminiscent of a graduation ceremony. One to mark the beginning, the other the end, but both strikingly similar. As a fourth year student, the 14th Student Council President, Ted Iha, is closer now to the latter. He addressed the students and shared his firsthand experience of what a rich and fulfilling university experience could be. We got to hear the evolution of Ted – from a Siwaka donut loving Teddy to an ambitious and engaged Ted Iha and finally to a fearless and compassionate Mr. President. Not every student can be president as we know from some of the personal failures Ted shared, but “there’s something for everyone at Strathmore, all you have to do is try”. For Ted, since his own convocation ceremony in 2019, the University has gone from StrathMore to StrathHome (his words).
Where our freshmen sat today, many great people have sat before them. We celebrate the 18th graduation ceremony this year, knowing that we have put out into the world policy makers, entrepreneurs, two time olympians and most importantly, lifelong learners. University is the first place we all truly learn how to learn. 2014 Valedictorian June Kangata – Bwire could not emphasize enough the lesson we go through in life. Learning how to be a student, an employee, and employer, leader, innovator, friend, spouse, parent. Life constantly requires us to adapt and learning is the only way to thrive. Strathmore University is a great place to learn how to learn, and the Dean of Students, Mr. Paul Ochieng’ encouraged the students to use it as a launchpad for the rest of their lives.
Remember how we said convocation is eerily similar to graduation? We meant with the speeches too! Luckily, when we say “mine is just to say something small” we’re true to our word and keep it brief. Brief but oh so sweet.
Speaking on behalf of all the deans, Dr Peter Kwenjera, Dean of Strathmore Law School promised the students that the deans would walk with them to the very end. But not one to coddle his students, he posed this question; “What do you owe this society? What will it remember you for?” He reminded them of the responsibility that comes with the privilege of attending university, the responsibility of providing leadership and guidance. Therefore, they must build character alongside education, not giving into the pressure to ‘do sherehe’ through the four years and miss out on the opportunities afforded to their generation.
“Your parents have been your first teachers, we will be your second and we do hope that you will be prepared to answer the challenges that your generation is supposed to answer,” he said.
With such words of wisdom imparted on the students, the Chair of the University Council, Vice Chancellor and Pro Chancellor could only add on as the icing on the convocation cake. Bernadette Musundi, Chair of University Council, told the newest members of the Strathmore family “to support each other, always cheer yourselves on, and lean heavily into the treasures the University offers. Talk to one of the chaplains around campus, reach out to your mentors, connect with faculty and take advantage of the innovation centers to start and grow businesses.”
Coincidentally, the convocation ceremony fell on the anniversary of our founder, St. Josemaria Escriva. Drawing on the life and teachings of St. Josemaria, Vice Chancellor, Dr. Vincent Ogutu challenged the students to set goals around who they want to be rather than what they want to do. Not forgetting who they are now, he also urged them to stay true to themselves “Be authentic and we will love you for it”. To close off the round of speeches, Pro Chancellor, Rev. Dr. Silvano Ochuodho, touched heavily on this year’s theme of Freedom and Responsibility. He talked about responsibilities while on campus that go beyond academics. In particular, he highlighted the freedom that comes with the clean learning environment on campus. Freedom from bad odors and dirty surfaces. Freedom to engage in learning and socializing. A freedom that comes with the responsibility of maintaining the cleanliness on campus by picking up after ourselves. “Our hope is that the conscious efforts made to create the environment that is enjoyed at this university will not only help you fit in and comprehend what is going on around you as you meet people and develop friends, but that it will also make you feel really at home as you do so”.
To bring the ceremony full circle to convocation, the Dean of Students led our first year students in the official convocation ceremony where they donned the sash and recited the Stratizen’s Verse:
We are Stratizens!
Stratizens of courage and integrity,
Stratizens in pursuit of excellence,
Stratizens of the three hearts,
United in diversity that all may be one,
Serving our communities together we are one
We take pride as Stratizens,
We are Strathmore
We are Stratizens!
Welcome Class of 2026 and 2027! The chapter begins here, the ending relies on how you choose to write it. Make it bold, make it epic, make it meaningful.
This article was written by Celia Kinuthia.
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