Taking a Pledge

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First-year Lake Superior State University students put their names on a class banner that embodies a pledge of integrity, fairness, and curiosity as they embark on a college career as Lakers. The approximately 500-strong Class of 2019 had just concluded a university-wide convocation on Aug. 28 in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. (LSSU/John Shibley)
First-year Lake Superior State University students put their names on a class banner that embodies a pledge of integrity, fairness, and curiosity as they embark on a college career as Lakers. The approximately 500-strong Class of 2019 had just concluded a university-wide convocation on Aug. 28 in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. (LSSU/John Shibley)

During a student convocation on the Lake Superior State University campus today, Dr. John Roese encouraged the school’s newest students to seek challenges, set high expectations for themselves and others, and to exceed those expectations in order to succeed in college and in life.

Roese, a biology professor and recipient of LSSU’s 2015 Distinguished Teaching Award, was one of several who spoke at the student meeting, a former staple of the beginning of the academic year that was brought back to life this semester. In addition to Roese, several others addressed the group and encouraged the students to make the most of their experience here.

“Seek challenges. Don’t just do the minimum of what’s required in anything you do,” Roese told the students after a welcome from Matthew Jurvelin, LSSU Vice President of Enrollment Services and Student Affairs. “Set high expectations for yourself and others, and exceed those expectations. If you do that, you will be successful not only here at LSSU, but also in life.”

David Drzewiecki, who works as a landscaper in LSSU’s Grounds Dept. and is chair of the LSSU Shared Governance Oversight Committee, and R. J. Homan, president of LSSU Student Government, both encouraged the new students to become active on campus and in the community.
“When I was a new student, stayed in my dorm, went to class, and didn’t do much else,” said Homan, a political science student from Mancelona. “Don’t be that kind of student. Getting involved on campus changed my college career.”

Drzewiecki encouraged students to find out more about the twin Sault and Eastern Upper Peninsula communities.

“The people in the communities around us are all Lakers,” he said. “They support us, house us, and give generously of their time, talent and treasure. Get to know them and discover this Laker life together.”

LSSU President Tom Pleger, pointing out the words on the sign that greets visitors at the campus east gate — Enter to Learn; Go Forth to Serve — encouraged students to do good things with the tools and experiences they will gain during their four years on campus.

“You have an obligation to do something with your education,” Pleger said. “This is an exciting time in your life. You’re here to change, to become a lifelong learner, and to be liberally – or broadly – educated…You’ll find the difference between high school and college is that you are in the driver’s seat now. Our faculty and staff have high expectations of you, but you have to take that first step in the process. Get involved. Challenge yourself.”

Near the conclusion of the program, Laker athletes Sydne McMullen, an exercise major from Britton, Mich., and Michael Smutny, a mechanical engineering major from Saline, Mich., led their classmates in the newly developed Laker Pledge.

“This pledge represents our students’ priorities and commitments to their college education,” said Sharmay Wood, associate director of Campus Life. “It was put together with great assistance from our faculty.”

Following the program, students signed the pledge and then posed for a class photograph.