Convocation held to honor Drexel faculty, students
Issue date: 10/9/09 Section: News
This year's convocation was held in honor of faculty and students, who compose a great research university, according to speakers at the event.
"Without outstanding students and faculty, without outstanding teaching and research, there's nothing to celebrate," John Lombardi, key-note speaker and president of the Louisiana State University System, said.
Faculty dedicates their lives to teaching and mentoring students in addition to many other beneficial projects, such as interpreting culture, curing illnesses, exploring social structures and developing technologies that improve lives, Mark Greenberg, provost of the University, said.
It was also held in honor of students who will learn "from this extraordinary faculty and from each other. They will learn how to learn and … will also know that acquiring new knowledge is a never-ending activity of the cultivated mind," Greenberg said.
Lombardi gave his speech "Performance Counts: The American Research University" which focused on the efforts made by faulty and students.
These two talents are most important because universities are based mainly on two activities, teaching and research, which include faculty and students, Lombardi said.
"Every single grant is gotten in competition with each other. There [are] no set aside [grants] for Drexel. There is no set aside for Johns Hopkins. … Everybody is fighting for the same stuff," he said.
And this "stuff" is quality people.
According to Lombardi, top research universities compete against each other for talent, which is scarce, and it is the individual, not the institution, who is ultimately awarded the grant leading to increase in research volume.
"[Lombardi] emphasized Drexel's place as a strong research and teaching institution. I like the fact that he pointed out … it's the individual pieces that form the whole," Vaishalee Thubrikar, mathematics instructor at Drexel, said.
Drexel is among the few institutions that is a top research university in America. To put things in perspective, there are about 2,200 4-year accredited, public/private/not-for-profit universities. Of those 2,200 there are about 588 that receive some federal research grant. And, of those 588 there are 156 universities that are the top American research universities of which Drexel is one, Lombardi added. These top universities control 90 percent of the expenditures of the federal government research budget in higher education.
Even though the university creates the platform from which faculty and students can work off, "it is the individual that has to create the quality, the performance and the stuff that defines the university as first grade," he said.
Although mostly faculty attended, several students were present.
Out of curiosity, freshman business major Giang Nguyen, attended the convocation and said she thinks it is important to show respect to the school she will attend for five years.
New to Drexel, Mary Bardes, professor of management, said she was surprised to see such few students there and that students should go because it is a ceremony that officially starts the school year and instills school pride.
Another freshman, Connor Hackert, who attended and connected with the speaker because of his history major, said, "The speaker was the best part. … It was fascinating. [He] was informative yet motivational."
Lombardi had a really great response from the audience; people were laughing, Bardes added. Being new to the university, she said the convocation gave her a feeling of pride in Drexel.
Forty-seven new faculty were acknowledged individually-including two new faculty at the Sacramento campus-and returning faculty were welcomed wholly with respect to their college.
The ceremony is available as a webcast on the Office of the Provost Web site.