The True Meaning of Convocation

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App State freshmen are the guests of honor at Convocation, which takes place this year on Thursday, Sept. 3 at 10:00am in the Holmes Convocation Center.   (But freshmen should please get there by 9:30am especially if you are meeting your FYS class there, and go in through the ticket booth entrance of the building, so you can be ushered to your seats.)

So what is the true meaning of Convocation, Charlie Brown? It is not that nobody has to go to classes Thursday morning.  Nor is it that Wednesday night becomes a huge party night because you can sleep in the next morning.  Come see the special celebration that is Convocation–the music, the costumes, the pomp and circumstance–where we celebrate our academic commitment to you, the students.  You are joining us with great potential and we want to mark this occasion.  Come take pride in the journey you’ve just begun and consider at this event what your education is really all about.

Human rights activist Ishmael Beah and author of this year’s common reading selection, A Long Way Gone, is the featured speaker. 

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Appalachian’s Common Reading Program invites incoming freshmen to read a common book as part of their orientation to the university. By participating in the Common Reading Program, entering students participate in a common intellectual activity that helps them develop a sense of community and introduces them to a part of the academic life they are beginning at Appalachian.

Published in more than 40 languages, the memoir was nominated for a Quill Award in the Best Debut Author category for 2007. Time Magazine named the book as one of the Top 10 Nonfiction books of 2007, ranking it No. 3. The book chronicles Beah’s experiences beginning at age 12 when he fled from attacking rebels in his homeland of Sierra Leone, his capture by the government army at age 13, which forced him to become a child soldier, and his rescue by UNICEF when he was 16. A graduate of Oberlin College, Beah is a UNICEF Ambassador, an advocate for Children Affected by War, a member of the Human Rights Watch Children’s Advisory Committee and a former visiting scholar at the Center for International Conflict Resolution at Columbia University. He is president of The Ishmael Beah Foundation, which helps children affected by war reintegrate into society by creating and financing educational and vocational opportunities.

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