University News

WNE Kicks Off the Year with a Message of Curiosity and the Joy of Surprise

Published: August 29, 2022 | Categories: All News
Dr. Robert E. Johnson addressing 2022 Convocation

Western New England University held its 2022 Fall Convocation on Friday, August 26 in the Anthony S. Caprio Alumni Healthful Living Center. Fall Convocation brings together members of the University community to start the new academic year of learning and intellectual growth. "Convocation is an important tradition for an academic institution. It sets the tone for our academic year and is an opportunity to welcome our new students," said Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Maria Toyoda.

President Robert E. Johnson delivered the keynote address to faculty and students with a message of curiosity and the joy of surprise. Dr. Johnson charged the class of 2026 with the important task of finding their 'WHY' - their purpose, and what makes them passionate. "Once you've found your WHY, you'll see the world around you change," said Johnson. "When you have a purpose and a reason, you'll have a means by which you can continuously create value in your life, in your work, and in your community."

University Faculty Senate President Dr. Tim Vercellotti presented the 2022 Teaching Excellence Award. Winners of this prestigious award are nominated by students, faculty, and administrators based on their outstanding contributions as educators and advisors. These individuals inspire others with their passion and innovation in the classroom.

"This year I have the pleasure of presenting Dr. Michael Rust the 2022 Teaching Excellence Award," said Vercellotti. "Dr. Rust is a Professor of Biomedical Engineering and was recently named the Director of Experiential and Entrepreneurial Learning in the College of Engineering. Since joining the WNE faculty in 2009, he has served as Director of the Honors Program and codirector of the First Year Program in the College of Engineering, as well as codirector for the Center for Global Health Engineering."

"Being recognized with the Teaching Excellence Award is an honor that exceeds the loftiest of my professional goals," said Dr. Rust as he accepted this recognition. "I am so grateful to the many, many individuals who helped me along my journey."

Dr. Rust concluded Convocation by asking the class of 2026 this: "As you leave here today, as you say 'so long' to your friends and families this weekend, and as you prepare for the start of classes on Monday, consider this question - Who do you want to be?" Whether it be an engineer, an occupational therapist, a marketing executive, a community leader, or a change agent for social justice and equity, he said "You have a whole community of people ready to help you answer that question. So, let's get started. We'll see you in class on Monday. Thank you, and welcome to WNE!"