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Air Force Academy hosts first-ever convocation ceremony

Story by Tech. Sgt. Charles Rivezzo, Aug. 2, 2019

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. – For the first time in university history, the Air Force Academy held a convocation ceremony Aug. 2, welcoming the incoming cadets from the Class of 2023.

Much like how graduation marks the end of the academic year, convocation is an academic ceremony to mark the beginning of the academic year and the collegiate careers of the Academy’s newest cadets.

Academy superintendent, Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria, opened the ceremony by imploring the incoming class to recognize the opportunities and challenges that lie in front of them.

“There will be opportunities over the next four years to take on some exciting academic exploits, and that starts today,” Silveria said. “Own that adventure by finding what your passion is, and plot that path with the help and support of an amazing faculty.

“We have a world-class faculty here that is second to none,” he continued. “They are committed to your success, and I can find no group of people that care more about you as individuals and your growing efforts in academia.”

As the Class of 2023 nears the end of Basic Cadet Training, the convocation ceremony also served as a point of transition from the arduous military training they’ve endured the last five weeks to the top-tier academic coursework they will experience at the Academy.

Freshly returned from 10 days of field training in Jacks Valley, where the notion of survival can sometimes become an overarching theme, Col. Linell Letendre, the presidential nominee for the next dean of faculty, discussed the need to transition from a mindset of survival to one of thriving.

“We don’t expect you to just survive in the classroom or on the athletic fields or survive in your squadron, we expect you to thrive,” she said. “Thriving in the classroom requires more than just keeping your head down and checking boxes. It means self-reflection and being invested in the course material.

“You must invest in yourself and in your own learning,” she added. “Read between the lines, ask questions and seek out new ideas … we need you to synthesize the knowledge that you gain, put it into new ideas and concepts, and come up with your own.”

Letendre concluded the ceremony with a simple yet direct question, “Are you prepared to thrive?”

She was met with an overwhelming “yes ma’am” from the nearly 1,200 basic cadets in attendance.

The 2019-2020 academic year is set to begin Aug. 8.