Hope Is Lighting The Way
Annual Candlelight Convocation celebrates diversity, equity, inclusion and a hopeful future
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105
SEPTEMBER 3, 2021 (NEW HAVEN, CT) – Under blue, breezy skies and warming sunshine, Albertus Magnus College conducted its 96th Candlelight Convocation Ceremony on the steps of Rosary Hall, welcoming the College’s second-largest incoming class, which will graduate during the school’s 100th anniversary year in 2025.
This tradition is one of Albertus’ oldest, where seniors bearing lit candles in turn light the candles of first-year students, symbolizing the passing of knowledge and illuminating the paths of the new students for their Albertus Magnus experience.
Select members of the faculty, administration and student body spoke throughout the 90-minute event. Highlights included a welcome from Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Sean P. O’Connell, who spoke of Albertus’ mission to “empower every member of our community to pursue the truth, so that they may make a contribution to the world.” Sister Anne Kilbride, O.P., Assistant to the President for Dominican Mission, offered an introductory prayer to the Holy Spirit, asking on behalf of all assembled for the gifts of “wisdom, understanding, counsel, piety and awe.”
In his reflection, Albertus Chaplain, Reverend Jordan Lenaghan, O.P., paid homage to the College’s athletics mascot, the Falcon, referring to the new students as “eyases,” or fledgling falcons, beginning their Albertus life journeys. In his remarks, Albertus President, Dr. Marc M. Camille, suggested that while the new students may be eyases, the more than 200 members of the Class of 2025 were indeed prepared well to pursue their Albertus degrees.
Faculty speaker Dr. Nicola Singh, Assistant Professor and Chair of Albertus’ History and Political Science Department, offered in her keynote address a powerful message of hope that reinforced the College’s motto, “We have faith in your future,” as well as its commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Dr. Singh proclaimed that, for her, hope is “rooted not in the heroes of old, but in ordinary people doing ordinary things in these extraordinary times we’re living in,” nor is it “based on who’s in the White House.” She inspired the newest Albertus students, suggesting, “If the last few years have taught us anything, with the Me Too and Time’s Up movements and protests in the streets, it’s that the time for hero worship is over… While we’re not where we need to be as a people, we’re not where we used to be as a people. I am your proof. I’m not just a female college professor; I’m a female college professor of color. I’m not just a female college professor of color; I’m a female college professor with immigrant roots, teaching in a field once dominated by men. 100 years ago I would have been impossible. I have hope because I’ve chosen to have hope. Hope is a choice.”
Drawing inspiration from Dr. Singh’s remarks, President Camille reminded attending students, faculty, and staff that the College’s legacy is marked by commitments to education access and opportunity, referring to the Dominican Sisters who “96 years ago, acknowledging at the time women did not have access to the same higher education opportunities as did their male counterparts, traveled to Connecticut from Ohio and Kentucky to found Albertus Magnus College as New England’s first Catholic, residential liberal arts college for women. That legacy continues today, with Albertus proudly educating 1,500 women and men, more than half of whom are of color and with nearly the same percentage receiving Federal Pell Grants and being the first in their family to attend college. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are in Albertus’ DNA, and they are essential components of academic excellence.”
In addition to the lighting of their candles, the newest Albertus students also participated in another time-honored Albertus tradition, the recitation and signing of the College’s “Tradition of Honor,” which reads: “As a member of the Albertus Magnus College community, I agree to uphold the principles of honor in my academic work, to abide by the regulations of the college, and to act with respect in my relationships with the members of the college community. To this end, I declare and sign the Tradition of Honor.” The Candlelight Convocation Ceremony concluded with Albertus faculty and staff standing over the new students and offering the “Dominican Blessing,” which dates back more than 800 years and asks the Holy Spirit to bless, heal, and fill the new students with light. At the end of the ceremony, the Class of 2025 students processed from Rosary Hall to the College’s Hubert Campus Center, to hang their class banner alongside those of the Classes of 2022, 2023, and 2024. All Albertus Magnus College students, faculty, and staff were then invited to a campus-wide picnic in celebration of the new academic year.
The Candlelight Convocation Ceremony may be viewed in its entirety here: https://youtu.be/xzYEKpcMeHc
About Albertus Magnus College
About Albertus Magnus College: Albertus Magnus College, founded in 1925, is a Catholic College in the Dominican tradition. It is recognized by external rankings such as US News & World Report Best Colleges, Money Magazine, and the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education. The College has an enrollment of 1,500 students in its traditional undergraduate program, accelerated adult degree programs, and 12 graduate programs, including a new Master of Public Administration and the only Master of Arts in Art Therapy and Counseling program in Connecticut. In the last year, the College received two significant Federal grants in support of student success and well-being: a $300,000 grant from the Department of Justice and a $1.9 million Title III grant from the Department of Education.