First-Year Convocation


Good morning, esteemed colleagues, distinguished guests, and most importantly, our incoming freshmen, the Buffalo State University Class of 2027!

I am delighted to stand before you today not only as your interim president but, more importantly, as a fellow traveler on this exciting journey of education and self-discovery.

Today marks the beginning of an incredible chapter in your lives, one filled with learning, growth, and transformation.

At Buffalo State University, our commitment is not just to impart knowledge but to ignite a lifelong love for learning. We endeavor to help you reach your full potential, both academically and personally. And we are here to ensure that you leave us better, stronger, and more enlightened than you are today. All we ask of you is commitment—commitment to be academically and socially engaged. In return, we promise to stand by you, guiding and supporting you every step of the way toward achieving your personal goals and professional aspirations.

The transformative power of higher education is tremendous. I urge you to embrace this power. Take full advantage of the opportunities that lie before you. Engage with your faculty, not only within the confines of the classroom but beyond. They are not just educators; they are mentors, guides, and perhaps even your future colleagues. Embrace the wisdom they have to offer, for their insights will shape your perspectives and enrich your understanding of the world.

First, I must speak to the unique opportunity you have as students at Buffalo State. We are privileged to be situated in the heart of the City of Buffalo’s cultural corridor. As the second-largest city in the State of New York, Buffalo is a city brimming with culture, history, and a myriad of opportunities for exploration.

You are not just students; you are also urban adventurers in the vibrant Buffalo Niagara region. Use every opportunity to explore this beautiful city. Learn from its history, engage with its culture, and immerse yourself in the urban landscape. This city is a living, breathing classroom, and you have the rare opportunity to learn from it every day.

Now, let’s talk about being a scholar. It all starts with punctuality. Arriving early to class not only displays respect for your education but also gives you time to prepare your mind for learning. Ensure that you are well rested and well nourished, for a healthy body hosts a receptive mind.

Choose to sit in the front row. This prime location allows for an engaged and focused learning experience. Prior to your first class, I encourage you to familiarize yourself with your syllabus. It is your academic compass, guiding you through the course’s journey. Also, remember to come to class prepared, having completed all necessary readings and assignments.

It’s vital to know your professor’s name and to establish an academic relationship with them. Consider scheduling an introductory meeting during their office hours. Turning in your assignments early is also a habit of successful students. And lastly, find a “study buddy” for each class. This partnership will enhance your learning experience, making it more enjoyable and effective.

Your academic performance is crucial, as it is intrinsically tied to your ability to persist toward graduation, and it affects your ability to access and maintain the scholarships and financial support that help you and your families pay for your education. Let this serve not as an intimidation but as a motivation to strive for excellence. Meet with your academic advisors and success navigators, early and often.

Equally important is your engagement with the vibrant social fabric that is Buffalo State University. Being a good community member begins with looking out for each other. Make new friends, create lifelong relationships, and always travel in groups, especially when exploring off campus. Adhere to the rules and guidelines—they exist to keep you safe and create an environment conducive to learning.

If you’re residing in the residence halls, familiarize yourself with your complex directors and resident assistants. They’re here to guide and support you.

Participate in campus activities outside the classroom. Join our clubs and organizations, run for student government, participate in internships through our Career and Professional Education Center, and support your fellow Bengals at athletic events. These social interactions enrich your university experience and offer a balanced lifestyle that will mold your character, broaden your horizons, and strengthen your leadership abilities.

One of the most crucial lessons you can learn today is that asking for help is not a sign of weakness but a hallmark of wisdom. Remember the old saying “Closed mouths don’t get fed.” Do not hesitate to ask for assistance, whether it’s academic guidance or personal support. We are here for you, always.

Now, I am a mother, a grandmother, and even a great-grandmother, and it is from that perspective that I share the following words with you. The opportunities laid before you here are immense. Don’t let them slip through your fingers by simply not adhering to rules. They are in place to ensure a conducive and harmonious environment for all. Remember, discipline is not a barrier but a gateway to success.

Your time at Buffalo State University is a gift, a golden opportunity that countless others can only dream of. Cherish it, respect it, and make the most of it. Don’t be the one who squanders this chance because you couldn’t follow the rules. The choices you make today will echo into your future. Let’s ensure that echo is a thunderous Bengal roar of success and not a whisper of regret.

Remember, your success is our success. Together, we will ensure that your journey at Buffalo State University is not just about earning a degree but also about becoming the best version of yourself.

Again, I welcome you to Buffalo State University! Here’s to an unforgettable journey of growth, learning, and transformation.

Go, Bengals!

Thank you.