University leaders welcome new students at Odyssey

by Kiara Posey

New students were officially welcomed to campus by university leaders and The Sound of the South during the Odyssey Convocation. The event was held in the Trojan Arena on Sunday afternoon and served as the culminating event of move-in weekend.

The Convocation sought to inspire new students while presenting an opportunity for them to be introduced to organizations and acclimated to important traditions on campus—such as the fight song and the alma mater. 

“The Convocation is kind of symbolic in a sense,” said Herbert Reeves, Dean of Student Services. “This is the beginning of your college career. 

“You will begin here [in the Trojan Arena] and you will end here when you graduate.”

Chancellor, Dr Jack Hawkins Jr., shared his hopes for students who are beginning their journey at Troy University.

 “It’s an exciting new year,” Hawkins said. “My greatest hope for students is that they find a home and feel secure, feel comfortable, create a vision for themselves, work hard and show up to class. 

“We welcome great students; we expect them to have a wonderful experience and we expect them to graduate as great citizens.”

Troy University Alumnus, Wesley Swanzy— who now serves as the Chief of Staff to the Chief Financial Officer at the U.S. Department of Agriculture— delivered the keynote address during the convocation, where he reflected on his time at Troy.

“Troy fosters the development of its people in a robust global community,” Swanzy said. “I was able to be more competitively marketable outside of Troy, Alabama.

“It gave me the skills, tools, and everything else I needed to be successful and competitive on all fronts.”

During his speech, Swanzy pushed students to get involved in on-campus organizations such as SGA and Greek Life. He encouraged students to push themselves outside of their comfort zone and be open to new opportunities.

“To my fellow Trojans,” Swanzy said in his speech. “As you embark on this incredible journey, seize every opportunity to be active, engaged, and open to inspiration.

“The discoveries you make here, the values you embrace, will take you places long after you leave these halls. Embrace the challenges, cherish the friendships, and always stay true to yourself.”

During the event, academic deans and students from each college participated in the symbolic lighting of the Odyssey flame torch. Sadie Burdett, a sophomore social work major from Millbrook, Alabama, lit the flame on behalf of the College of Health and Human Services. 

“It was such an amazing experience that I would never try to take back,” Burdett said. “Just seeing all of the students, parents, and incoming freshmen was amazing. 

“I mean, I was in their place last year and now I’m here lighting the torch.”

Carlee Fuller, a freshman elementary education major from Alexander City, Alabama, expressed how the Convocation impacted her.

“The Odyssey Convocation really gave me insight on what my four years here at Troy would look like,” Fuller said. “I now know after going to the Odyssey Convocation that my professors and everyone working at Troy University want to see me succeed and want to see me walk across the stage with my diploma in four years.” 

The Convocation was concluded by the Sound of the South Marching Band with the Chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance Victoria Lee Averett performing the Troy University Alma Mater and head football coach Jon Sumrall leading the Troy fight song. 

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