Office of the President
4200 54th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33711
local: (727) 864-8211
toll-free: (800) 456-9009
fax: (727) 864-1877
Stephen A. Barber '12 President, Eckerd College Organization of Students
Good afternoon and welcome back! I hope your summer was relaxing, profitable, entertaining, and not too stressful and that your first week of class has been better than expected.
Each year we reconvene at Convocation to reunite as a community of students, staff and faculty, to redefine our principles and objectives for the upcoming year, and to reignite the academic flame as the new semester begins. The vision of the founding members of Eckerd identified this institution as a center of community, innovation, profound knowledge and limitless opportunities. From the inception of the college in 1958 we have matured into a place where faculty, students and staff have the opportunity to build a great academic foundation and broadly impact our local and global communities.
Talk about building. Right now, we are in the midst of an unmistakable transformation -- academically and physically, as we grow as an institution, and develop as a college. The campus dynamics are refreshed with a new incoming class and our facilities and academic capabilities are exponentially improved with the renovations to Galbraith Marine Science Laboratories, the Cobb Building and the Molecular and Life Sciences Project. I can't wait to see the impact of these projects and the revitalization of our community over the next 14 weeks.
This Convocation marks the beginning of a new year, and our goals across the entirety of ECOS fall in a multifaceted approach to improve our transparency, image, and responsibility as representatives of the student body. This year we will continue tradition – supporting athletics, intramurals, and legacy events; engineer new initiatives catered to who we are today as a student body through effective communication, collaboration, ideation, and implementation; and third, evolve our image and vision as a Student Government to lay the foundation for the future.
For a moment, I would like for you to think about what you are interested in accomplishing before graduation. Is there a professor that you would like to hear deliver a lecture? Are there events or programs that you want to host? Do you have an Eckerd College Bucket List?
Well, what are you waiting for? Let's do it; let's make it happen. This year, we are in a position with the right people, resources, capabilities, and ingenuity to make your dream a reality. In every department of ECOS we have a diversity of talent, a refreshed perspective, and a dedicated drive to make this an unforgettable year. I certainly want this semester to be memorable and hope that you feel the same way. Let's raise the bar higher than before and ensure these next two semesters set the precedent for the next Eckerd generation.
To all new students and those returning after the summer, this is the year to create a story, discover your passions, invest yourself in your interests, and enjoy the journey. For those of you who will graduate in May, or will return to Eckerd next fall for your Sophomore, Junior or Senior year I urge you to follow Ralph Waldo Emerson and "not go where the path may lead, but go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
It is undoubtedly an exciting time to be an Eckerd student. I encourage you to take some time this year to reflect back on the road that led you here today, and look forward to all that you have yet to achieve. Recognize your potential as a scholar, an athlete, an artist, or a leader. Capitalize on your capabilities and strengthen your weaknesses. In the words of author Garth Stein, “There is no dishonor in losing the race. There is only dishonor in not racing because your are afraid to lose.” Take a chance; be academically curious, and persistently courageous. Do not be afraid of what lies ahead and seize every opportunity, get involved, go abroad, and work hard. Most importantly, enjoy the experience that this exciting year will bring.