Colorado College Welcomes News Students at Opening Convocation - Colorado College

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For Immediate Release

Leslie Weddell
(719) 389-6038



 Students to contribute 10,000 hours of community service before starting classes

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Aug. 29, 2011 – Colorado College will welcome 491 first-year students and 22 transfer students at its Opening Convocation at 9 a.m. Monday, Sept. 5 at Shove Memorial Chapel, 1010 N. Nevada Ave. The ceremony marks the beginning of Colorado College’s 138th academic year and will be presided over by President Jill Tiefenthaler, who became CC’s 13th president on July 1.

Opening Convocation begins with faculty members, dressed in their academic robes, marching into Shove Memorial Chapel from the quadrangle directly west of the chapel. Colorado College’s approximately 2,000 students will begin classes at 10:30 a.m., immediately after the ceremony.

Ryan Haygood, a 1997 graduate of Colorado College and co-director of the Political Participation Group at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF), will give the keynote address, titled “For Such a Time as This.” Haygood, Susan Patrick, 1992 graduate of Colorado College, and Kim Simon, also a 1992 graduate of the college, will receive honorary degrees at the ceremony.

Haygood administers LDF’s voting rights docket and litigates cases that challenge racially discriminatory practices in the political process on behalf of African-Americans and other racial minority groups. His current work is in an area that many people refer to as the next phase of the voting rights movement: ensuring voting rights for people with felony convictions. To that end, he has successfully argued a case before the Ninth Circuit, published and lectured on the subject, and recently contributed to “Free the Vote: Unlocking Democracy in the Cells and On the Streets,” an LDF publication.

Haygood also is the cofounder of the Glass House, a student residential community at Colorado College which empowers racial and ethnic diversity and promotes leadership development among multicultural students. He graduated cum laude with a degree in political science and American history and a Rhodes Scholarship nomination.

Patrick is a national leader in online educational learning and has served as an adviser to the governor of Arizona, and on the staffs of a member of Congress and the U.S. secretary of education. She currently advises elected officials both in the U.S. and abroad on innovation in online learning. Patrick is now president and CEO of the International Association for K-12 Online Learning. In 2007, she was named (along with Bill Gates of Microsoft) as one of the top leaders in the U.S. who have significantly influenced the future of educational technology.

Patrick graduated with a degree in English and later earned a master’s degree from the University of Southern California’s noted Annenberg School for Communication. Her essays have appeared in The New York Times, Newsweek and Forbes magazine, and she has been interviewed on major news networks such as ABC, NBC, CBS and NPR.

Simon is the managing director of the Shoah Foundation Institute at the University of Southern California. After receiving a B.A. in history with honors, she immediately moved to Prague, Czech Republic, to work in film production, most notably New Line Cinema’s “Delta of Venus” and HBO Pictures’ “Fatherland.”

She was hired in 1994 to coordinate the Shoah Foundation’s efforts to collect interviews around the world with Holocaust survivors and other witnesses. She has spent the last 15 years in the field of Holocaust video documentation and education, spearheading the use of Internet 2 resources to archive the testimonies at the University of Southern California.

Simon currently oversees the development of an educational application, IWitness, a multimedia application that uses the intersection of video testimony on the Internet as a way to explore multi-literacies and the topic of the Holocaust and other genocides in education.

Opening Convocation begins the academic year and helps to welcome the Class of 2015. This year’s class brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and talent to the campus. The incoming class features:

  • Students who speak 30 different languages, including Tamil, SiSwati, Malayalam, and Tagalog.
  • 46 editors of student publications, 16 student government presidents, 31 service organization leaders, 195 varsity team captains, seven junior Olympians, and 90 heads of school groups, ranging from Hip-Hop Freestyle to Athletes for Afghanistan.
  • A world-class dressage rider, two nationally ranked rock climbers, and an individual who placed second at the World Series of Birding.
  • A member who started a music blog that receives more than 250,000 hits a month.
  • Seven Eagle Scouts and three recipients of the Girl Scout Gold Award.
  • A member who gave a presentation on women’s rights in Turkey and another whose research in Geneva has helped make headway on the treatment and identification of parts of melanoma.
  • Two members who have professionally recorded music albums.
  • 13 nationally ranked competitors, including a sprinter who is on track to compete in the 2012 Olympic Games, a national champion sprint kayaker, and a soccer player dubbed “the best left-footed player in the country.”
  • Multiple small business owners, including one who started a silk screening business and another whose business fabricates steel protection parts for off-road vehicles.

First-year and transfer students arrived on Aug. 27 and participate in a week of orientation activities, which culminate in 54 community-service trips throughout the Southwest. The new-student orientation trips are led by student leaders and include opportunities in the backcountry for trail maintenance and campsite restoration work, as well as volunteer work at animal shelters, charter schools, museums and emergency food and shelter sites. Together, the incoming students and student leaders will contribute 10,000 hours of volunteer service to organizations throughout the Southwest – before they even step into a classroom.

For information, directions or disability accommodation at the event, members of the public may call (719) 389-6607.

About Colorado College
Colorado College is a nationally prominent, four-year liberal arts college that was founded in Colorado Springs in 1874. The college operates on the innovative Block Plan, in which its approximately 2,000 undergraduate students study one course at a time in intensive 3½-week segments. The college also offers a master of arts in teaching degree. For more information, visit <>.