Dickinson State starts a new school year with a positive outlook
The weather may have felt like the middle of summer, but it's time for Dickinson State University students to get back to work. The university held its annual convocation ceremony in Stickney Hall on Monday morning, kicking off its 99th year. DSU...
The weather may have felt like the middle of summer, but it's time for Dickinson State University students to get back to work.
The university held its annual convocation ceremony in Stickney Hall on Monday morning, kicking off its 99th year.
DSU President Thomas Mitzel welcomed new students to the university by giving them an optimistic message for the upcoming school year.
"This is their very first step as adults," Mitzel said. "It takes place today and they will remember this for the rest of their lives. So it is positive."
During his speech, Mitzel said the new students are entering "a family" until and after their graduation.
"I tell every student, 'I hope you graduate in four years,'" he said. "'When you graduate in four years, you may leave our campus but you never leave the DSU family.'"
Mitzel added that there will be times when students both fail and succeed, but it's important that students use those failures to learn from.
"If you don't fail at something while you are here, you're not pushing yourself hard enough," he said during his speech. "... We will pick you up, we will dust you off and will talk to you about why you may have failed. We'll talk you how to turn that around and make that a positive for you."
Trey Smollack, a sophomore at DSU and a member of the DSU cross country and track teams, said he was looking forward to hearing Mitzel's convocation speech because the university president had arrived midway through last school year.
Smollack said he wanted to know how Mitzel viewed the way things were. He added he enjoyed the speech because he felt like he could connect with Mitzel, and that it brought a sense of community to the students and staff in the room.
"I thought it was really cool just to set up that base like this is a small community," Smollack said. "That's really important and I liked that."
He said that while he did like last year's speech by then-interim president Jim Ozbun, he felt that Mitzel's speech was a bit different because it made him feel like he was immediately a part of a larger community outside of his athletic teams.
"I liked the speech last year," Smollack said. "I just appreciated the sense of community that they instilled really early this year."
DSU Student Senate President Simon Root, provost Carmen Wilson and Melanie Tucker, the vice president for student affairs and enrollment management, also spoke at the convocation ceremony.
Root also had the honor of ringing a new bell with Mitzel to help bring in the new school year, a new tradition for the university, and hit the gong that student presidents get to hit at the beginning of the year.
Mitzel is entering his first full year as president and will be inaugurated Sept. 23 as the university's 12th president during DSU's family weekend. He said he's looking forward to working with students from the beginning of the year to the end.
"Last year I entered in December and people were already in a flow and already doing things," he said. "... Being here from day one, it just has a feel about it that you don't elsewhere."