SJC Brooklyn’s first-year students gathered on the O’Connor Mall during common hour on Monday for the campus’ 106th annual Investiture ceremony.
The afternoon ceremony was the first academic event of the year for the Class of 2025, and symbolized the beginning of the students’ college journey and the College’s willingness to “invest” in their education.
The speakers at the ceremony — SJC President Donald R. Boomgaarden, Ph.D.; Executive Dean Phillip Dehne, Ph.D.; Biology Professor Michael Hanophy, Ph.D.; Student Government Association President Eva Jefferson-Page ’22; and Father Juan Luxama — offered advice to the new students, while donning academic attire.
“College is not just a place that trains you to do something, but it trains you to become someone,” Dr. Hanophy said. “An informed citizen, a role model, a young community leader, a person of action and of substance. College is not a place where you learn just enough to do a job. It’s where you come to be a lifelong learner; a person who recognizes that you could never know it all, never think deeply enough, never strive hard enough. And we, the faculty and staff, are here to help you with that.”
Fr. Juan, who led the benediction at Investiture, agreed with Dr. Hanophy’s advice, noting that getting involved and going to church helped him learn outside the classroom while he was in college.
“What kept me going was getting involved and getting engaged,” he said. “And the second thing was my prayer life.”
Looking to the Future
Jefferson-Page shared a message of hope with the new students, explaining that joining clubs at St. Joe’s helped her become a leader.
“The ‘you’ that you are now will not be the same ‘you’ that you are four years from now,” said Jefferson-Page, a Child Study major. “You will change, and that change will be more like growth … My advice to you is to get involved.”
The administration offered a similar message of hope, as the College returns to its usual operations after a stint of remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think what’s true at investiture today is going to be true of everything this year compared to last year,” said Dr. Dehne, referring to the hardships of learning, teaching and gathering remotely throughout the past year and a half. “Everything everyone did last year was such an effort. “
Dr. Boomgaarden added to that sentiment.
“Education is more than just getting a great certificate and it’s more than preparing you for a job,” Dr. Boomgaarden said. “Sure, it does those things. But it also gives you the resilience and the tools to deal with trauma. And that’s what this has been; it has been a huge trauma for all us.
He continued: “And, so, the joy of learning is a way to transform you into a different place. Into a place where you can really be who you are, you can dream your dreams, and you can make your dreams come true. For me, as president of the College, I see it as my mission to talk a lot about what learning is really about. Learning is really about you becoming even greater than you already are.”