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Convocation's Messages: Community, Perspectives, and Respect
gwaxberg

The official opening of Pingry’s school year, Convocation is an event of reverence and tradition as Middle and Upper School students reaffirm their commitment to the Honor Code. Dressed up for the occasion, students stand for the formal procession of the Headmaster, Chair of the Board of Trustees, Student Body President, trustees, and faculty, all proudly wearing their academic gowns, a tradition passed down from universities of the Middle Ages. Here are highlights from this year’s remarks:

“Anticipate outcomes so you are able to make good decisions.”
Senior faculty member Miller Bugliari ’52, P ’86, ’90, ’97, GP ’20, ’24, beginning his 60th year on the faculty

“Make the community a better place. Think about what we can accomplish.”
- Student Body President Andrew Cowen ’19

“Have the courage to ask questions. The Honor Code represents a promise to support the people around you. By lifting each other up, we realize our own potential.”
- Honor Board Chair Drew Beckmen ’19, emphasizing the value of a supportive community

“When interacting with people, and in your academics, consider possibilities, perspectives, and nuance.”
- Board of Trustees Chair Jeff Edwards ’78, P ’12, ’14, ’18, who began his remarks by asking the audience to consider the many implications of a plastic water bottle

“We are more likely to hear and remember information that supports our perspective than information that does not. And, of course, we all think that our opinions are correct . . . One choice we could make would be to only interact with the people with whom we agree . . . The term that people use to describe this situation is ‘echo chamber.’ Another choice we could make—and one which I would argue you have made—is to be part of a community like Pingry, a community based on a mission to foster a lifelong commitment to intellectual exploration, individual growth, and social responsibility . . . I charge each of you to walk out of any echo chamber in which you find yourself, to engage with each other and with each other’s ideas in a respectful manner, to entertain the possibility that you might be wrong, and to assume good intentions on the part of others.”
- Headmaster Nat Conard P ’09, ’11, reflecting on the lives of John McCain and Aretha Franklin: “the Senator who embodied respect and the Queen of Soul who made it an anthem”

In addition, Mr. Conard recognized the Magistri, faculty members who have taught at Pingry for at least 25 years. Collectively, the 24 Magistri on the 2018-19 faculty (with individual service spanning from 25 to 59 years) have served Pingry for 848 years!

Contact: Greg Waxberg ’96, Communications Writer, gwaxberg@pingry.org