By: Matthias Baudinet
September 11th, 2014; Green Mountain College officially starts the 2014-2015 academic year and welcomes the Class of 2018. The school officials and faculty also took a brief moment of silence to honor those who lost their lives in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The students were guided by the faculty towards the Clara Hitchcock Fitzpatrick Jones Concert Hall. Starting from Whitey Hall, the professors and students were led by the honorary musician who blew into his bagpipes carrying on a thousand year old tradition. It was great to see the entire Class of 2018 all together in the Hall, alongside all the faculty, staff, and administration.
Mark Dailey, PhD, professor of Sociology/Anthropology here at Green Mountain College officially opened convocation, marking the beginning of the academic year. Shirley Oskamp then led everyone in the Hall to say a prayer, blessing the start of the academic year. Student Body President Erondu Jude Chisom then delivered his student-to-student welcome with a great inspiring and uplifting speech which gave a hint of what was coming.
President Paul Fonteyn and GMC Provost Thomas Maus-Pugh then briefly talked about the challenges that lay ahead for the freshmen, but that with perseverance, commitment, passion, and grit they would be able to overcome those challenges and learn priceless knowledge along the way. The president also made it clear that the professors, staff, and upper classmen are all hear to help and aid the first years along the way. Finally, Tom Maus-Pugh had the honor and privilege to introduce Charles Maus-Pugh, his older brother.
Charles, who is now retired, accomplished so many things in his life. Though this might not seem that impressive, seeing as anyone who has the drive and will-power to accomplish things can do so. Charles however, became entirely paralyzed from the waist down in 1977–he was only 29 years old. Charles initially stated that he had never given a motivational speech before, but that he had unintentionally motivated someone before.
Before his accident, Charles ran a lot. He had a friend named Richie who worked out a lot and ran just for the sake of running–he liked running because it was healthy exercise. Charles’ other friend, Dave, always ran to win. Even a casual morning run with buddies was a competition for him. During one of their morning runs, Dave took off right from the start, setting a very fast pace, like he always did. Richie did not pay any attention to this and stuck to his own pace. Charles however, wanted to keep up with Dave and maybe even beat him. Of course Dave was a better runner than Charles so he still won, but what Charles did not know was that while he motivated himself to stay with Dave, Dave was motivated by Charles to pick up his pace and try to put some distance between himself and Charles.
Charles’ point was that we can sometimes unexpectedly motivate someone by our actions. Indeed, I believe Charles to be right. Here at college we can all motivate each other–even if we do no know it. Motivation is key to success at any university. Here at Green Mountain College many students willingly try to motivate others which creates an ideal academic environment.