Only ONE more day until our New College graduates say farewell to ASU West. On Convocation day, take time to reflect on all you have learned and the memories you have made. But most importantly, DON’T FORGET TO TOUCH THE PALEY GATES AT CONVOCATION! Here’s why!
TOUCH OF UNIVERSITY A TRADITION CONTINUES
As you walk through the Paley Gates at Convocation, it is tradition to reach out and touch the gates, placing your hand on them as a catalyst for reflection. By reaching out you are asked to reflect on how ASU has touched you during your studies here. No doubt university work demanded much of you, touching your heart and mind in many powerful ways, in many unexpected ways, perhaps.
Regardless of your area of study, your experience at ASU made demands that you be rigorous, that you be insightful, and that you be perceptive. Indeed, as Socrates says at the end of Plato’s famous allegory of the cave, education is the “art of orientation.” ASU has equipped you with the means by which you now know how to turn your critical attention, that is, how to orient yourselves, toward what is most pressing in our world today and which calls for our being responsible for and responsive to it. And this is as it should be. Universities are meant to touch you in these ways so that your having been here makes a promise to the larger culture concerning your participation in the life of our city, the enterprise of our state, and the hopes for our cosmopolitan future.
You are now in a position to understand better that you can be in your own activities and excellence become co-creators of what is to come next. Here at ASU you have been a part of a community of scholars and you have engaged in the conversations, studies, and activities of research that are becoming such a community. We are hopeful that your time here has left you with the three qualifications for public life that the Czech philosopher Vaclav Havel deems necessary viz., tact, good taste, and the proper instincts.
Education habituates us to these three traits. It allows us to read situations in which we find ourselves, develop the proper tests and programs fitting to our collective circumstances, and allows us to investigate with care and understanding the world around us. Today you leave the university and the community of scholars who have touched you and you do so that you may enter community of critical citizenship. Your responsibility, in turn, is to touch with your education everything with which you come into contact. You must leave a mark of excellence on the larger cultural matrix of which universities are but one, albeit vital, part. Leave a touch of your education with each person with whom you encounter in the following years.
Education is not a finite quantity; sharing it does not and cannot diminish it, rather the opposite is true: each sharing with another adds to what you already have. From among the many, two examples show what you must do: Invent new and progressive ways to touch others and imagine the ways you can cultivate the relations necessary to improve yourself and all those around you.
The Paley Gates at ASU’s West campus will continue to be here, standing as a symbol for the next generation of students. As well, the faculty will be here making certain that the community of scholars is vibrant, welcoming, and awaiting all those who will wish, as you did, to be touched by education.
provided by the Barrett, The Honors College