SPRINGFIELD , Ohio – Wittenberg President Mark H. Erickson didn't just welcome students, faculty, staff and members of the university community to another academic year during Wednesday's Opening Convocation. He challenged everyone in attendance for his keynote address in historic Weaver Chapel to think about more than Wittenberg and more than the local community.
"To the students, I would challenge each of you to take full advantage of all opportunities and possibilities at Wittenberg," said Erickson, who officially joined the Wittenberg community as the university's 13th president on July 1. "Take numerous languages courses, learn about different world religions, different economic systems and different cultures. Meet and interact with people from different countries."
The convocation serves as the annual opening event of the Wittenberg Series, which brings distinguished lecturers and performing artists of national and international prominence to the campus and local community each year. The Wittenberg Series is entering its 24th year as a Springfield community institution.
Following a formal academic processional by the faculty, Erickson's address titled “Stop the Planet, I Want to Get Off: The Challenges of Educating Global Citizens in an Increasingly Chaotic World” was well received by the near-capacity crowd in Weaver Chapel. As part of the traditional kickoff to the academic year, Carolyn Perkins, associate vice president of student development and dean of students, introduced student leaders, and Kenneth Bladh, provost of the university, recognized newly tenured faculty members and those recently promoted.
"I believe there is no more important time for us to undertake this work than now," said Erickson, who was previously vice president for administrative and government affairs at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa. "The world is an increasingly chaotic and intolerant place, a place that makes you sometimes feel like jumping off...but we can change that by our actions and the actions of those we educate."
The next Wittenberg Series event is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 17, when the Susan Marshall Dance Company performs at the Kuss Auditorium in the Clark State University Performing Arts Center. To learn more about the Wittenberg Series, contact Gwendolyn Scheffel, Series coordinator, at (937) 327-7918 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Ryan Maurer