• Academic Convocation

    Welcome to Worcester State University

    Tuesday, September 3, 2019*
    Sullivan Auditorium

    Worcester State University’s Academic Convocation officially welcomes new students into our academic community and fosters a sense of belonging.

    What is Convocation?

    Convocation is literally a “calling together” of all new students. A formal academic ceremony that together with Commencement will serve as a bookend to your time here at WSU, Convocation is an event that serves to officially welcome you to the academic core of your university experience. We hope that this event will serve as an opportunity to gain an appreciation for the university’s values and traditions.

    The event is also designed to inspire your commitment to excellence within an academic community of students, faculty, and staff. You will be introduced at this time to some of the many individuals here to support your learning and intellectual development.

    A Word About the Costumes

    Ceremonial garments worn at academic functions, or academic regalia, display distinctive markings on the gown and hood in order to indicate the level and subject area of the degree earned and the institution granting the degree.

    The hood offers the most information about its owner. The inner lining identifies the institution at which the degree was awarded and the velvet trim indicates the major field of study. A final distinguishing feature of the hood is its length and width, which reflects the type of degree awarded. The gown’s cut also signifies the level of degree attained as does the color of the tassels on the cap or mortarboard.

    At this ceremony, the colors of many different universities and colleges may be seen. The colors included on the garments represent specific academic disciplines.


    During the ceremony, a number of guests will be invited to speak, they include the Deans of the two Schools at WSU, as well as Student Government Association President, Ms. Maribel Mateo, Class of 2020, alumnus Jillian Witkowski, Class of 2016, and faculty member Dr. Tim Murphy, of the Worcester State Department of Urban Studies.

  • Maribel Mateo, Student Government Association President

    Student Government Association President Maribel Mateo, Class of 2020, has been very active during her three years at Worcester State. She worked for the Jumpstart Program at the university’s Binienda Center for Civic Engagement for two years and served as a Student Senator for two years. Maribel is now currently a two-term Student Government President. In addition, she is a student in the university’s Community Leadership Experience. After two years as an Orientation Leader, she returned for her third year as a Co-Director. Maribel completed a year as a Resident Advisor ,or “RA,” and continues to work as a student manager and a Wellness Center Fitness Monitor.


    Jillian Witkowski, Class of 2016

    Jillian Witkowski graduated with a communications degree in 2016. She was involved in a number of activities while at Worcester State University including a member of the WSU soccer and softball teams. She is currently a Health and Family Consumer Science Teacher at Wachusett High School and pursuing her Masters of Education.


    Dr. Tim Murphy, Ph.D., Department of Urban Studies

    Dr. Murphy earned his bachelor’s degree in both French and Communication and Culture from Indiana University, Bloomington and both his masters and doctoral degrees in Anthropology from the University of California, Davis.

    He teaches a variety of courses in Urban Studies, including Human Identity and the Urban Environment, Urban Anthropology, The Queer City, Introduction to Urban Studies, First Year Seminar, and Crime and the City. Dr. Murphy is a faculty advisor of Pride Alliance, one of the leaders of WSU’s Favela Partnership Project in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and an organizer of the annual Global Action Fair.

    He has conducted extensive research in urban Brazil as well as Massachusetts and his research interests include urban anthropology, middle-sized cities, social marginalization, youth, gender, sexuality, and belonging.

    Dr. Linda S. Larrivee, Ph.D., Dean of the School of Education, Health, and Natural Sciences

    Welcome to Worcester State University. I am Dr. Linda S. Larrivee, Dean of the School of Education, Health, and Natural Sciences. My office is in the Science and Technology Building, room ST 101. I oversee ten academic departments including: Biology and Biotechnology; Chemistry; Communication Sciences and Disorders; Earth, Environment, and Physics; Education; Health Sciences; Mathematics; Nursing; and Occupational Therapy. These 10 departments encompass 23 undergraduate programs and 15 graduate programs. I also oversee five centers including the Center for Interdisciplinary Health Studies and Practice, the Center for PreK-12 Initiatives in Education, the Math Center, the WSU Speech-Language-Hearing Center, and the Center for STEM Research and Education as well as the WSU online journal Currents in Teaching and Learning.

    Faculty and staff members of Worcester State University’s School of Education, Health, and Natural Science work to engage students in learning so they may become successful and conscientious citizens of the world. Through teaching, scholarship, and research, students learn theoretical and practical knowledge, while gaining a passion for critical analysis and a desire for continuous learning. Faculty members in the WSU School of Education, Health, and Natural Sciences have expertise in such areas as STEM education, elementary and secondary education, fundamental and applied science, technology, and health and health studies. Students can gain experience outside of the classroom by working with faculty members on research in the faculty members’ labs, internship experiences, and practicum experiences. Students can showcase their research work in WSU’s Celebration of Scholarship and Creativity or by participating with faulty members in local, state, or national conferences.

    Dr. Russ Pottle, Ph.D., Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences

    Welcome to Worcester State University. I am Dr. Russ Pottle, Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. My office is in Sullivan Academic Center, room 210. The School of Humanities and Social Sciences includes eleven departments, including Business Administration and Economics, Communication, Criminal Justice, English, History and Political Science, Philosophy, Psychology, Sociology, Urban Studies, Visual and Performing Arts, and World Languages. These departments offer 35 undergraduate programs and eight graduate programs, including a number of bachelor’s-to-master’s programs and an early law school program. The School also includes five interdisciplinary centers: the Center for Community Media, the Center for Entrepreneurship, the Center for Social Innovation, the Translation Center, and the Urban Action Institute.

    Departments and programs in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Worcester State University cultivate intellectual growth, engaged citizenship, and professional accomplishment among faculty and students. Together, faculty and students in the Humanities and Social Sciences encounter and analyze the variety of human experiences and human expression, the value of multiple perspectives, and the natures of social, economic, and political power. Through inspired teaching, research, scholarship, and creative work, they produce new knowledge and contribute to the common good. Through dedicated service, they benefit the community. In all these activities, students find passions and life paths.

  • Schedule of Events

  • Information for Students

    2:20 p.m. - Students check in at the Wellness Center, Multipurpose Gym on 2nd floor

    • All new students—first-years and transfers—are to participate in the official start of the academic experience at Worcester State (unless you have a class scheduled at this time).
    • You will receive a gift which marks the occasion, given to you by Worcester State University.
    • You will be greeted by faculty members wearing their academic robes. Please dress in business casual attire (no caps, cutoffs, or flip flops, please).
    • If you have accessibility needs, please contact the Student Accessibility Services Office at accessibility@worcester.edu. Two weeks’ notice is appreciated.
    • If you have general questions, email convocation@worcester.edu.

    After the ceremony

    Light refreshments will be served on the lawn outside the Sullivan Auditorium.

    Information for Faculty and Staff

    Academic regalia required.
    2:30 p.m. - Faculty arrive, robed, at the Woo Café
    3 p.m. - Speaking program begins in the Sullivan Auditorium

    After the ceremony

    Light refreshments will be served on the lawn outside the Sullivan Auditorium.

  • * If there is rain, there will be no outdoor procession. Students will line up in the Sullivan Academic center and faculty and staff will gather in the Woo Café at 2:30 p.m. If you are unsure about the weather, check this page for up-to-date event information.