Castleton University welcomed more than 560 new students to campus at fall Convocation on Thursday, Aug. 26. The event, which marked the first time the entire Castleton community has gathered together in-person since the beginning of the Coronavirus Pandemic in March of 2020, brought a crowd of more than 400 masked students, alumni, faculty, staff, and community members to Casella Theater.
President Jonathan Spiro welcomed students back to campus, presenting the State of the University address. In it, he reflected on the various challenges of the past year – including the pandemic’s impact on the residential student experience and the in-person delivery of courses – before shifting the focus to celebrate all of the opportunities ahead.
“We went through a very difficult year, but we prevailed. Our employees demonstrated amazing flexibility and dedication. Our students showed unprecedented resiliency. The university’s leadership team toiled round the clock, seven days a week, for months on end; and together we survived our historic brush with disaster,” he said. “We emerged better and stronger. Better and stronger as individuals, and better and stronger as a university. Thus, one unexpected and happy outcome of the pandemic is that I now know for certain that we will overcome any obstacles put before us. We know with certitude that this institution is going to thrive for decades to come.”
President Spiro also recognized the contributions of students to the community and the impacts of our alumni on our global workforce. This includes the more than 20,000 hours of community service completed each year by Castleton’s more than 600 student-athletes and a 94.7% job placement rate among Castleton alumni.
President Spiro also addressed the merger of Castleton with Northern Vermont University and Vermont Technical College in 2023.
“During this time, one thing has remained constant, Castleton has always provided New Englanders with the education and support they need to permanently improve their lives and the lives of their families,” he said. “As the featured orator declared at our one-hundredth birthday celebration in 1887: ‘No matter by what name we call this institution, it has always been a stepping stone to those who wished to go higher.’”
Faculty Assembly President Dr. Preston Garcia welcomed students back to campus on behalf of Castleton’s dedicated professors. He told students to lean on faculty when they need it – both for help in the classroom and for help in life.
SGA President Adam Murray shared his experiences as a community advisor and a member of various clubs on campus. He encouraged students to find something they're passionate about and get involved.
Adrienne Matunas, coordinator of pathway program for English Language Learners, introduced 39 new international students who come to Castleton from 20 countries. It is the largest cohort of incoming international students in the University’s history. They join returning students from 26 other countries.
The crowd also enjoyed performances by the Castleton Wind Symphony and the University Chorale, which led those in attendance through the Castleton Anthem.