His voice cracked with emotion. A moment of silence taken, eyes downcast as the hushed audience looked on.
Quickly, he composed himself and shared his gratitude with the people of San Diego State University.
“I have remarked many times that the word excellence comes from the Latin word ‘excellere,’ meaning to climb higher. You are the ones that climbed higher,” said President Stephen L. Weber at the end of his speech at All-University Convocation. After the moment passed, he continued, “It is my privilege to tell your story.”
The hundreds of faculty, staff, students and other community members in attendance answered Weber with a standing ovation.
Reflecting on the past
With campus air conditioning disrupted this week, Montezuma Hall was the coolest place on the Mesa as it hosted the annual event that kicks off each academic year. With the recent announcement of his retirement, Weber reflected on his time at the university.
When Weber arrived at SDSU in 1996, he introduced Shared Vision, a dialogue among faculty, staff and students that produced five goals:
- Enhance academic excellence
- Serve as a learning-centered environment
- Lead diversity and social justice issues
- Use campus resources and budgets wisely
- Transform into a global university
Weber noted that the people of SDSU—its faculty, staff and students—were responsible for the university's progress. SDSU achieved many of its goals during Weber's tenure and he presented supporting statistics throughout his speech.
Looking towards the future
Other All-University Convocation speakers included William Snavely, director of the School of Communication and chair of University Senate, and Associated Students President Grant Mack. Both spoke on the importance of shared governance in guiding SDSU into the future, especially in light of reduced funding from the state of California.
“Avoid the cynicism that the light at the end of the tunnel is just an oncoming train,” Snavely said. “Let’s choose to react well.”
Associated Students will also strive to get students more involved in the political process this upcoming year, Mack said.
“Now is not the time to give up or think ‘we’ll just weather the storm,’” Mack said. “We must unite and send a message to Sacramento. Higher education is the key to not only California’s success, but also the country’s.”
Faculty Montys awarded
All-University Convocation also features recipients of the SDSU Alumni Association Awards for Outstanding Faculty Contributions to the University, more commonly known as the Faculty Monty.
Provost Nancy Marlin introduced each college’s Faculty Monty recipient and presented them with a statuette which is a scale version of Donal Hord’s “Aztec” statue on display in the Prospective Student Center and its replica at the Parma, Payne, Goodall Alumni Center.
This year’s Faculty Monty honorees include:
- Joanne Ferraro, Department of History, College of Arts and Letters
- Bruce Reinig, Department of Information and Decision Systems, College of Business Administration
- Shulamat Ritblatt, Department of Child and Family Development, College of Education
- Kenneth Walsh, Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering
- Greg Talavera, Graduate School of Public Health, College of Health and Human Services
- Richard Neumann, Division of Education, Imperial Valley Campus
- Julie Su, Serials Unit: Acquisitions and Cataloging, Library and Information Access
- Wayne Beach, School of Communication, College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts
- Elizabeth Klonoff, Department of Psychology, College of Sciences
Refreshments were provided following All-University Convocation in the lower courtyard of Aztec Center.