Convocation. A tradition that has been celebrated for decades on college and university campuses across the country, it recognizes the start of the academic year and, symbolically, the passing of knowledge.
Led by Bay Path seniors in their graduation robes, Bay Path’s Convocation 2010 recognized these women as they began the final year of their educational journey, and welcomed over 200 incoming students—passing to them the torch of knowledge.
Joining faculty, the head of the Board of Trustees, family, and friends, the students heard from Laurel Fortier, president of the senior class, speak to the three stages of their college experience; Dr. Robert Surbrug, assistant professor of history and director of the Honors Program, provide guidance on navigating the academic waters using the analogy of a kayak paddling; and Bay Path President Carol A. Leary, PhD, challenge the class of 2014 to follow in the footsteps of the Class of 2011’s accomplishment and achievements.
The main speaker for Convocation 2010 was Terry Bedard, JD ’84.
“Overcoming Fear” was the theme of Attorney Bedard’s address. Using her terror of spiders (she is a confirmed arachnophobe), she shared with the group her embarrassing moments with these predatory arachnids and what she did to push through her fear. In studying spiders, she learned some very interesting facts, including one that has helped her in life: every spider web contains an escape route. When an insect is trapped in the web, the key is to not become fearful and panic, but to find the escape route. As the students go through life, she urged them to look at situations with an open and calm mind…to take in all the facts…and, particularly, for those stressful situations, to look for those escape routes. “We all have fears and insecurities, but we all have courage,” Bedard told the students. “Courage is taking action to overcome your fears, to think of your unique traits as your strengths, and to take advantage of opportunities.”
Bedard graduated from Bay Path in 1984 and continued her education at Western New England College, where she received her law degree. Her background includes corporate and consulting positions. Upon discovering her first son was profoundly deaf, Bedard became a child rights’ advocate helping disabled children to receive the appropriate placements and service they needed under the law to succeed academically. Three years ago, Bedard co-founded a nonprofit organization called Hear Here Hartford, a chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of America.