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February 9, 2016   
Posted: August 20, 2012
First convocation held at HTC Center

  Big Read Essay Contest winners (left to right): Lindsay Klaum, third place; Thomas Saguto, second place; Jada Bynum, first place.  
The new HTC Center's first official convocation occurred Friday, Aug. 17, when some 2,200 freshmen and transfer students and approximately 275 faculty members marched into the gymnasium for the 2012 New Student Convocation.

The anchor event of Welcome Week, the convocation was an occasion for the Class of 2016 to bond and reflect on the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

CCU President David DeCenzo welcomed the class and reported on its demographics: 47 percent are from South Carolina and 53 percent hail from 38 other states; half of the class is majoring in the sciences; the average high school grade point average of students in the entering class was 3.3; their average SAT score was more than 1,000.

The winners of the Big Read essay contest were announced and recognized. The first place winner was Jada Bynum of Myrtle Beach, who received a $150 gift certificate for the new Chanticleer Store. The second place winner was Thomas Saguto of Pawleys Island, who received a $75 gift certificate; Lindsay Klaum of Cranberry Township, Pa., took the third place prize, a $25 gift certificate.

The convocation address was given by Holley Tankersley (pictured on the main web page), associate professor of politics and chair of the Department of Politics and Geography. Drawing on themes from this year's Big Read book, "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks," she offered advice to the students about human values.

Tankersley admonished students to view themselves and their actions in relation to their classmates and fellow citizens. "You are not alone. . ." she said to the students, stressing the importance of accepting their responsibility to their classmates and recognizing the humanity in others.

"We must not see any person as an abstraction," she said, encouraging students to "develop a capacity for compassion, civility and individuality."

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