Monmouth University held its annual Fall Convocation and Employee Reception on Friday, Sept. 9 at Pollak Theater. Coordinated by the Office of Human Resources, this event hosted almost 200 attendees.
The celebration is a gathering to welcome back existing faculty and staff members as well as new ones. Dr. Patrick Leahy, President of Monmouth University, reminded those in attendance that some members are retiring from the institution and others are being welcomed as the new members of our Monmouth community. According to Rosaly Rivera, Human Resources Generalist from the Human Resources department, “This [event] is a great way of starting a new academic year as well as to meet new employees.”
According to Pamela Scott-Johnson, Pd.D., Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs, one of the purposes of the event is to allow senior individuals to welcome new ones. She also stated that the institution is “one body” and needs team effort in order to deliver excellence and integrity. “We need each other. Together, we can take any challenge, no matter what happens. Together, we have a better vision,” she said.
Rose Knapp, an Associate Professor of Nursing and Faculty Council Chair, addressed in her speech how she was happy to welcome new members as well as to see old and familiar faces. She also explored the difficulties that the institution went through during the most difficult time when COVID-19 hit, especially the challenges MU faced regarding the intellectual well-being of students, faculty, and staff.
Leahy also addressed how Monmouth is now among the 50 best universities in the country and has been working to be among the best 35 with the implementation of its Doctoral level education.
Another topic Leahy explored was the student demographic changes, which according to him are not unique to Monmouth. He said that the proposal is to increase student diversity, making Monmouth more attractive so that they can see themselves at the University.
For this task, the University will begin a search for a Chief of Diversity Officer. Furthermore, Leahy lectured on the four areas that he will be focused on this academic year, including how Monmouth is organized academically, how to grow its scholarships, health and wellness, and the improvement of the health care of faculty and employees.
Leahy also discussed how great institutions, including Monmouth, have adapted to changes during and after difficult times such as the Great Depression. “The challenges we are facing are real and serious. Our founders also faced challenges and they adapted and survived. We will also adapt and survive,” he said.
According to Leahy, the Convocation serves not only as a great way of kicking off the 89th year of the institution, but also a great opportunity to kick off the new academic year. The ceremony was followed by a reception at Pozycki Hall and Torcivia Common.