President Dekle has charged the AUN community on the necessity of keeping an open mind and remaining imaginative.
Dr. Dekle, who addressed the Convocation and Pledge Ceremony held on August 21, her first as President of the University, identified imagination as the key ingredient for success--whether it is in research, scholarship, art, discovery, or expression.
President Dekle said the power of imagination made JK Rowling into a famous author. “Her imagination created the empire called the Harry Potter brand,” Dekle said of Rowling. She told the 13th convocation that imagination also inspires teaching innovations.
“My hope is that AUN provides you with a framework for an open mind and life-long learning, because at the end of the day, if you don’t go through life with an open mind, you will find a lot of closed doors.”
Great potential lies just beyond students’ perceptions of their own abilities. “...Your greatest limitation isn’t where you are from or your gender, or your ethnicity... You are smarter than your JAMB scores say you are. You are more disciplined than your parents think you are. You are more imaginative than you dare express.”
The ceremony, which took place at the Commencement Hall, witnessed the matriculation of over 200 new students. It marked the entry of the 13th class of students, the class of 2021. “So today, as you join our learning community, I encourage you to stretch yourself, work hard, and imagine the future that lies ahead of you”, the President said.
Addressing the freshmen, Vice President of Campus Life & Dean of Students, Byron Bullock said, “There is a need for some critical updates in your life starting today. It is time to update your contact list and make room for new friends and associates. Remember that there are great people around you.”
Dean Bullock said enrolling in a college is a lifetime opportunity that they should seize. “There are opportunities all around you for partnerships and friendships that will last a lifetime.”
Dean Bullock also spoke about the wise use of time. “Time is your gift. Each day you get the gift of time in the form of hours. At the beginning of each week, you get 168 precious hours. You can either control this time given to you, or it will control you.”
President of the Student Government Association (SGA) Idris Mamman advised the new students to utilize every single day on campus to learn something. “Learning, after all, is what has brought all of us to this place. It enables us to grow into all that we desire to become.
First, learn from your faculty. Here at AUN, we have an amazing faculty. We equally have the amazing opportunity to know them and have access to them beyond what is obtainable at other public institutions.”
The final-year student also encouraged them to fully participate in campus life. “Become involved in an organization. Then take a leadership role. Enjoy learning in the classroom and then use what you have learned to transform yourself and the community around us.”
The students, including the graduate students’ Class of 2019, took the AUN Community Pledge and each participant received a class sash.
Today, I vow to seek and speak only the Truth and to demand of myself the absolute integrity that I have a right to expect of everyone at American University of Nigeria.
This I pledge, for the sake of Nigeria, for the sake of Africa, for the sake of our futures, and in Service to Community and Country, with you and to you, my fellow members of the American University of Nigeria.
The convocation brought to a conclusion the weeklong new student/parent orientation, the 25th since the intake of the pioneer class in September 2005.
By Omorogbe Omorogiuwa