What is Academic Convocation? Why Should I Attend?

From our Mission Statement: “Gonzaga University is an exemplary learning community that educates students for lives of leadership and service for the common good.”

The heart of New Student Orientation, the event that focuses on all your hopes and aspirations as you begin your university journey, is Academic Convocation.  At this event the faculty formally welcomes you into Gonzaga: an “exemplary learning community,” an academic community, a community of conversation about questions, problems, and opportunities that matter, not just for you, but also for the world in our time and into the future.

Gonzaga, as a Jesuit, Catholic, humanistic university, is committed to being a place of genuine conversation – in its classrooms, labs, studios, residence halls, and eating places. Why?  Because genuine conversations matter. In a genuine conversation the participants are grasped by questions, and in the back and forth of exploration understanding emerges. You probably have had conversations like that – when the issue being discussed mattered more than winning the argument, when time seemed to stop, when you felt truly alive in the midst of it all. You know such conversations are not easy. They take courage, a capacity to listen, and a willingness to own one’s thinking – to be aware of rather than controlled by one’s assumptions. They also are exhilarating.

A university education is an apprenticeship in genuine conversations. You will learn the concepts, theories and practices of your field. Professors will bring you into the conversations that shape disciplines and professions from philosophy to physics or fine arts to finance.  You will become a biologist, or historian, or engineer to the degree you enter into the conversations that shape your chosen field. As much as anything else, and especially through the core curriculum, you will learn a fundamental skill – to slow down the leap from event or experience to judgment and interpretation – and thus learn to make richer, truer sense of life.

Within the Catholic and Ignatian tradition genuine conversations are basic to becoming a fully alive, creative human being. These conversations connect us to each other, to all of humanity past and present, and to the transcendent, whether we speak of God, the depth of being, or the wonder of existence.

At Academic Convocation you formally become part of the genuine conversation of Gonzaga. Our conversation extends nearly five centuries of such conversations in Jesuit higher education. Gonzaga faculty members, with over 1600 years of cumulative study and teaching in their areas of expertise, will be there to welcome you into the conversation that is this university.  Gonzaga cannot be the continuing thread of genuine conversation without you.

To emphasize the importance of entering the university, GUide Core has designed a Welcome Walk that will occur immediately prior to your entering St. Aloysius Church for Academic Convocation.

On Monday, August 29, bring your hopes, bring your passions, bring yourself to Academic Convocation.  Take a deep breath and experience our embrace of you as integral members of our exemplary learning community.



Patricia O’Connell Killen, Ph.D. is Gonzaga’s Academic Vice President.  She will emcee Academic Convocation.


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