Convocation and the Academic Tradition
Combining the Latin words for “a calling” (vocatio) and “together” (con), Fairmont State’s convocation calls together the different constituencies of the university—faculty, students and families—to affirm our mutual purpose and values. Originally, the English term convocation referred to a meeting of religious officials who meet to confer about the church teachings and prayers shared among the parishes in a larger community.
Today's convocation formally opens Fairmont State's academic year as we pause during the excitement of move-in and the fun of Welcome Weekend to focus on students' academic undertaking. As students take the Academic Pledge with their family bearing witnesses this afternoon, they will commit and dedicate themselves to pursuing excellence at Fairmont State. The convocation thus forms a bookend with graduation to students' college education. For family and supporters, this convocation is an unparalleled glimpse forward to that day of student success.
If we look a bit like monks in a medieval procession as we march down the aisles in our ornate hoods and gowns, that is because the style of the academic regalia we wear is based on the robes worn by members of the first European universities dating back to the 1100s. Back then, the gowns serves to keep scholars warm in the drafty stone halls of the medieval university. Today, they represent the seriousness with which your professors at Fairmont State University regard their own vocation, which is to help our students excel in the twenty-first century.