Convocation 2022

Three student representativesJuan Carlos Santamaria ’23, Declan Coster ’22, and Abigail Bryer ’23gave remarks at Honors Convocation. 

Fall 2022 Honors Convocation Recognizes Students’ Academic Accomplishments

The 44th honors ceremony celebrated 270 undergraduate students for high academic achievement. 

Story by

Carina Sitkus

Photography by

Christa Neu

Convocation 2022

The fall honors ceremony was held the Friday of Family Weekend. 

Students, family, friends and members of the Lehigh community gathered in Baker Hall in the Zoellner Arts Center at 3:15 p.m. for this year’s Honors Convocation recognizing senior status students who earned a cumulative grade point average of 3.8 or higher out of a possible 4.0. The celebration was followed by the Brown & White BBQ on the Clayton University Center lawn.

Jennifer Jensen, deputy provost for academic affairs, opened the ceremony, followed by comments from Nathan Urban, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, who shared advice on how students may make the most of their remaining time at Lehigh and, as alumnus Lee Iacocca ’45 once said, do something: “Apply yourself. Get all the education you can, but then … do something. Don’t just stand there, make it happen.” Urban also congratulated the students on their achievements. 

“Everyone being honored today is on track to graduate from Lehigh with highest honors,” Urban said. “But even more than simply doing well in your classes, your achievement has this extra significance because you have achieved that very high standard at a time of such great change and uncertainty, stress, anxiety, distractions and disruptions. You have thrived during these times and that indicates that you had a real sense of dedication, true resiliency and also support.   

“You have also maintained this high academic standard while doing many, many other things. Some worked, some played a sport…been involved in research or other projects that seek to make the campus, the community or the world a better place. These activities will also have an impact on your career and your life for years and decades to come after you leave Lehigh. I’m sure that for many of you, these have been an integral part of your Lehigh experience and education.”

Three student representatives nominated by vice provosts, deans, associate deans and directors of campus programs also gave remarks.  

“For me the most fun part of planning [Convocation] is [working with the student speakers],” Jensen said. “It is incredibly humbling. This room is absolutely filled with tremendously accomplished students.” Among them, she said, the speakers, who have excelled both inside and outside the classroom. 

Abigail Bryer ’23, who will graduate with a B.S. in population health with a concentration in biostatistics and a minor in maternal and child health, spoke about how the College of Health and her unexpected experiences during the pandemic helped her find her field.

“...[P]opulation health combined my interests in health, statistics & data science, women’s health, and social welfare into one collective field,” she said. “I am being prepared for the future not just by my course load, but also by the research opportunities I have been given at both the Institute for Indigenous Studies and the Computational Uncertainty Lab. These different opportunities have helped me view the pandemic, and public health overall, in a new way.”

Last spring, Bryer traveled to the Gathering of Nations Powwow in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to collect survey data examining how the COVID pandemic has affected Native American communities. She’s currently working on a project to study influenza trends in Allentown. 

“The collaborative work in both of these research projects has allowed me to learn what it’s like to work as a part of a team, and the support and encouragement from my mentors have helped me find where my strengths and interests lie,” she said.  

Declan Coster ’22, who will graduate from the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering with a B.S.and Applied Science in electrical engineering and minors in entrepreneurship and computer science, spoke about how to be successful with uncertainty and about how embracing challenges made him a better engineer. He spoke also of the importance of relationships and community. 

“At Lehigh, it is easy to feel lucky about the people you meet. With wonderful professors, it is easy to learn a lot and get great advice,” Coster said. “And with a community as remarkable as ours, you are destined to make wonderful friends. Chance encounters can change your worldview and your trajectory. The more you give back and the more you get to know the people around you, the more this community starts to feel like home.”

Juan Carlos Santamaria ’23, who will graduate from the College of Business with a B.S. in business and economics and a major in finance with a concentration in real estate, reminded the students gathered that there was still time left before graduation to have meaningful experiences:

“Time becomes more and more valuable the less of it you have. So as our time here dwindles down, I expect every moment of it to be sweeter than the last. Seize every opportunity and relish every moment because we’re only ever in college once, and these are the moments that shape us into the people that we are meant to be.”

Story by

Carina Sitkus

Photography by

Christa Neu

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