On Tuesday, August 11, 2015, Dr. Catanese led the campus community in a heartfelt welcome of the Class of 2019 during our Convocation at the Clemente Center. This celebration of the beginning of students’ academic careers at Florida Tech is a tradition that brings students into the Florida Tech family and highlights many of the people who work to ensure a successful transition to university life. From the hall of applause that welcomes new students and families to the procession of faculty in their regalia, Convocation bears a striking resemblance to the graduation ceremony that students will experience at the culmination of their time at Florida Tech.
At Convocation, Dr. Catanese always takes the opportunity to tell our newest Panthers about the school and the accolades that Florida Tech has earned in its short yet successful 57 years. He also uses this event to give students some sage advice as they begin their university life.
Go to class. Of course, with all of the amazing faculty who teach every day and the opportunities to learn about all of the discoveries that happen on the Space Coast as well as around the world, why wouldn’t you take advantage of what awaits in every classroom and lecture hall?
Do research. As Dr. Catanese said, “You don’t come to Florida Tech to read about research. You come to Florida Tech to do research.” Ask questions and seek out what faculty and departments are discovering and creating in their laboratories and workshops. You may find something that ignites a passion that sees you to graduation and then beyond to graduate school or a lifelong career.
Go global. “This is an international university,” Dr. Catanese reminded the students and their families. Florida Tech brings students from around the world to study and grow within the campus community. Learn about other cultures, take a language, or attend one of the many events that celebrate our students’ diverse backgrounds.
Try something different. For its size, Florida Tech is bursting at the seams with opportunities. If you’ve never considered a music class because it didn’t make sense for an electrical engineering degree, use an elective and give it a try. Consider trying out for a sport or auditioning for a play. Take advantage of a trip series to meet new people and explore the surrounding area.
Participate in Student Life. Over 110 clubs and organizations contribute to the University’s social community, and they all offer students benefits. Be it academic or athletic, service or social, one (or more!) of these groups will help you to meet people outside of your major and grow your circle of friends. Being a part of a student organization also introduces you to alumni, who can connect you with people and groups in the community.
Avoid the “freshman 15.” Staying active contributes to academic success. Dr. Catanese advises students to take advantage of the Florida sunshine and get outside… with sunscreen, of course! Students can make smart choices at Panther Dining and use the facilities at the Clemente Center to lead a healthy lifestyle while pursuing their studies.
Call home. This final bit of advice earns a round of applause and affirmations from teary-eyed parents, but it rings true. Parents want to hear about students’ successes during the first year, and a phone call can be more reassuring than a few text messages. Students should make it a point to keep in touch with their parents and let them know what’s going on between August and December during the first semester.
Convocation welcomes our newest members to the Florida Tech family. Whether you take one or all of these bits of wisdom to heart, a world of opportunities await you at the Florida Institute of Technology.