Students attend 24th Convocation ceremony

Stephanie Sansoucy

The 24th annual Fall Convocation welcomed freshman to the Appalachian State University family with an address from “American Dervish” author Ayad Akhtar on Tuesday.

Appalachian’s Summer Reading Program chose Akhtar’s “American Dervish” for the freshman’s required reading.  

Akhtar is a graduate of Brown University and Colombia University and won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. His book, “American Dervish,” has been published in 25 languages and won 2012 Best Book of the Year from Kirkus Reviews, Toronto’s Globe and Mail, Shelf-Awareness and Oprah magazine.

In his first convocation address, Akhtar said making a connection and engaging the reader was very important to him. Akhtar went on to talk about finding your calling, saying that at age 16 he found his.

“I saw that exploring the deeper questions in life through stories was the most extraordinary thing I could do with my life,” Akhtar said.

 Freshman global studies major Lauren Holt said she enjoyed Akhtar’s address.

“He was very down to earth and prepared for his audience in terms of keeping us listening,” Holt said.
Akhtar said that he had fun at addressing the crowd in the Convocation Center and was honored to have his book selected.

Akhtar’s final words received a standing ovation from his audience.

“I have some simple advice,” Akhtar said. “Be open, be willing, know that taking your development seriously can lead to rich rewards. The richest of which is finding the path that leads you.”

Before Akhtar’s speech and following a greeting from Board of Trustees Vice Chair Avery Hall, awards were given out by Chancellor Kenneth Peacock.

Senior recreation management major Justine Haynes, who won the Student Employee of the Year Award, said she felt honored to be a part of the Convocation tradition.

“It was a shock, and I just feel very honored to be up there with the other recipients,”                          Haynes said.

Story: NICOLE BELLAMY, Intern News Reporter