An enthusiastic audience gathered in the Center for the Arts Concert Hall for this year’s Convocation, an annual tradition at the College of Staten Island, where the campus community learns about the institution’s many advancements and successes, and also honors faculty and staff members who are celebrating milestone anniversaries.

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View the Convocation Accomplishments 2012 publication on the President’s Office online bookshelf.

This year’s Convocation was more noteworthy than usual, as new Interim President Dr. William J. Fritz, Interim Provost/Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Fred Naider, and Vice President for Enrollment Management Mary Beth Reilly presided over the event.

After Dr. Naider introduced Dr. Fritz, the College’s Interim President told the audience a little bit about himself, noting that he is a geologist, “an explorer by nature,” and a pilot. Dr. Fritz then related the tale of Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen, who, in his quest to reach the North Pole, designed a never-before-seen boat that could withstand the crushing ice floes, complete with a windmill-powered electric generator to keep him and his crew warm during their two-year mission. In the end, Nansen came closer to the Pole than anyone had before, but he still had to turn back, eventually making it back to Norway to reunite with his wife Eva. Although he didn’t reach his goal, he made many significant discoveries, and he is considered the founding father of the field of oceanography.

Dr. Fritz went on to compare Nansen’s innovations during his quest to CSI’s model for success, noting that Nansen “took on a challenge that some considered impossible,” and “reevaluated and adapted his goals when he had to.”

He pointed to CSI’s examples of innovation and success, such as the concerted effort by various members of the College community to secure a safer drop-off point for the S93 bus, the on-schedule construction of CSI’s first-ever residence halls (complete with a time-lapsed video of the progress, so far), and the recognition that CSI has received as a quality institution from CUNY Chancellor Dr. Matthew Goldstein; its reaccreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, which included commendations in 12 of 14 standards; and the fact that the CSI was named one of the Best-Bang-for-the-Colleges by Washington Monthly, and was sited as a Military Friendly School for the fourth year in a row by GI Jobs magazine.

The result of these accomplishments, Dr. Fritz noted, is increased student success, with a higher number of valedictorians and salutatorians, and students from the most prestigious high schools choosing to come to CSI, as well as recent CSI graduates gaining admission to Harvard University and Albert Einstein School of Medicine, among other noteworthy schools.

Looking to the future, Dr. Fritz stated that as the College follows the course that is charted by its new Strategic Plan, Many Voices, One Vision, and its new Master Plan, that the coming years will be bright for CSI and its students, with the eventual completion of the new Interdisciplinary High-Performance Computing Center, one of the most powerful facilities in the region, and the potential creation of new schools of Business, Education, and Nursing/Physical Therapy.

[youtube][/youtube]Dr. Fritz concluded his remarks by unveiling CSI’s new branding, an updated look for the College that incorporates the colors of blue and gray. The new look, and the reasons for the change, were further explained in a brief video.

Convocation concluded, as usual, with the recognition of faculty and staff members who were celebrating milestone service anniversaries in increments of five years. Vice President Reilly emceed this lighthearted portion of the program, reading bits of nostalgia from each year after a signature tune from each year played, allowing the honorees to gather near the stage.