Academic Year Kicks Off With Convocation and Block Party
St. Francis College kicked off the start of the fall 2021 semester with a convocation ceremony and block party celebration on September 7 that welcomed back students, faculty and staff to its largely re-opened Remsen Street campus.
The morning's hour-long convocation was the first such event at St. Francis College, and the first in-person SFC community gathering since March 2020. It featured addresses from SFC leaders and an awards ceremony recognizing achievements and outstanding service of student clubs, administrative offices and individual faculty and staff members over the past year.
"I do think it's a distinct pleasure to be back," said Miguel Martinez-Saenz, Ph.D., President of St. Francis College in
his address before an audience of about 130 gathered in SFC's Founders Hall and nearly 100 more watching online. "Sometimes we forget what we miss until we encounter it again."
SFC had taught classes and operated its administrative functions nearly entirely remotely since March 2020. SFC faculty members are teaching most fall 2021 classes -- which started on September 8 -- in traditional classroom settings, and on-campus activities and events have resumed as well. SFC requires students, faculty and staff to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to be on campus this fall.
President Martinez-Saenz encouraged the audience to consider if returning "back to normal" is a worthy goal as they contemplate the end of pandemic restrictions. "Do we [instead] want to live in a future...that allows us to live differently, maybe more compassionately, maybe more mercifully? That's what I want you to begin to think about."
Amanda Alexandre '22, the Student Government Association president for the 2021-22 academic year, commended her peers for their resiliency this past year and encouraged them to forge ahead with enthusiasm. "I am here to help you navigate and execute the Student Government Association's new 2021 to 2022 motto: let's get back to moving forward."
"I'd like to label us all wunderkind students," Alexandre said in her address. "A wunderkind is someone who achieved great success at a relatively young age...the point is you – no, we - made it happen...We beat all odds that were formed against us and we continue to move SFC forward."
Convocation concluded with attendees signing poster boards to commemorate the "last first day" of a new school year at SFC's Remsen Street campus, before the institution moves to its new home in Downtown Brooklyn in September 2022.
That afternoon featured the traditional Terrier Tuesday Block Party, an annual outdoor event on Remsen Street on the day prior to the first day of fall semester classes, with food, games and music held in honor of SFC's new students each year. More than 400 students, faculty and staff attended. SFC hosted last year's Terrier Tuesday celebration online, in accordance with COVID-19 protocols.
SFC presented the following awards during the September 7, 2021 convocation:
Academic Club of the Year: International Cultural Studies Club
Cultural Club of the Year: Black Student Union
Greek Organization of the Year: Kappa Theta Nu Sorority
Special Interest Club of the Year: Photography Club
Overall Club of the Year: Accounting Society
Convocation Service Awards:
Andrew Cornicello, Director Athletics Wellness & Performance, Athletic Department
Bora Dimitrov, Director of Engagement and Alumni Affairs, Advancement Office
Dionne Dodson, Assistant Director of Athletics, Athletic Department
Natasha Edwards, Assistant Dean, Department of Health Promotions & Wellness
Ed Evans, Assistant Director of Security, Campus Security
Brian Guidera, Director of Aquatics, Head Swimming & Diving Coach Athletic Department
James Hoffman, Assistant Director of Athletics for Compliance, Athletic Department
Chase Licata, Deputy, Director of Athletics, Athletic Department
David Loutfi, Director of Event Management, Facility Rentals and Campus Security
Maggie Martini-Minieri, Associate Athletic Director/SWA, Athletic Department
Anilsa Nunez, Assistant Dean of Residence Life & Student Conduct Student Affairs
Yuki Miyazawa, Director of Strength, Conditioning and Wellness Athletic Department
Romello Rogers, Admissions Counselor, Admissions Office
Department of Athletics
Office of the Registrar
SFC IT Department
Rita Baron-Faust, MPH, CHES Adjunct Professor Department of Biology & Health Promotion
Yakov Bass Senior Adjunct Lecturer Department of Chemistry and Physics
Kristy L. Biolsi, Ph.D. Professor and Chair Department of Psychology
Frank D'Esposito Senior Adjunct Lecturer Management and Information Technology
Patricia Facquet, Ph.D.(c), MSPH, MEdN Department Chair, Assistant Professor Department of Nursing
Jenny Labendz, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Religious Studies Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies
Virginia Newman, BSN, MSN, DNP Assistant Professor Department of Nursing
Vladimir Pashkevich, Ph.D. Associate Professor Management and Information Technology