Chancellor M. Scott McBride, on behalf of all campus faculty and staff, welcomed new freshmen to Penn State DuBois during Convocation ceremonies on Thursday in the campus gymnasium, opening up the two-day New Student Orientation.
"New students, today marks the beginning of the rest of your life. The opportunity to earn a coveted Penn State degree is why you are here, but it is far from the only life-changing thing that you will take away from your Penn State experience. You will discover your passions, your capacity for tolerance and understanding, and your ability to dig deep within yourself to achieve far more than you ever thought possible. It's a time for personal growth, taking responsibility for your own journey, and finding your own path to reach your goals," McBride said.
New freshmen at Penn State DuBois this fall come from nearly every local community in the region, as well as across the country, and around the world. Director of Enrollment Melissa Duttry shared, "Some of you have travelled far to get here. Our longest journey was 8,642 miles, from Thailand. In the bleachers today, we have students from four different countries, 11 different states, and 25 Pennsylvania counties. You are representing 80 different high schools."
With such diversity in the backgrounds of those who make up the campus community, McBride also celebrated the campus' commitment to unity. Pointing to recent events, like those at the University of Virginia, McBride stressed the role that institutions of higher education must play in society. He said, "As a community of scholars and global citizens, we are committed to cultivating a diverse and inclusive environment that respects and honors the dignity and essential worth of all individuals, regardless of historic prejudice or the ways that we may differ. Indeed, history is full of examples of how ignorance and hate can poison and ruin a society. We’ve witnessed and fought against such hate in every generation, both at home and abroad. This is why education is, and always will be, the vehicle for fostering tolerance and understanding, and to building civil societies."
McBride also encouraged students to become active outside of the classroom, to join clubs, and participate in service projects that will help them to round out their education. Brining his address full circle, McBride explained that these activities will help students to achieve the most personal growth possible, and that serving others will open doors to self-improvement.
"For many of our students, service to others becomes a deeply meaningful part of their learning experience at Penn State DuBois. Participating in community projects, raising money for charity, donating time to programs that assist children or senior citizens are some of the rewarding ways that students give back to others," McBride said. "In fact, in a single academic year, our student clubs and organizations have managed to complete an impressive 6,000 hours of community service. By serving others, everyone wins. We learn life’s lessons, new skills, and become more civically engaged. It’s through these experiences we realize that, as stakeholders, we are the owners and benefactors of building better communities for ourselves, our families, and our fellow citizens."
As part of orientation, all new students at Penn State DuBois participate in Community Outreach Day, a day of service spent volunteering at local organizations and charities, performing various tasks and giving back to the community. Outreach Day takes place on Friday, the second day of orientation. Students spent the remainder of Thursday getting to know one another through icebreaker exercises, becoming familiar with the campus through tours and interaction with faculty, and meeting with academic advisors.