“Why Are We Here?” is theme for 2019 Convocation

“Why Are We Here?” is theme for 2019 Convocation

Aug. 1, 2019

“Why Are We Here?” is the title of the address that Maryville College President Tom Bogart will deliver to new and returning students, faculty and staff during the College’s 2019 Convocation ceremony, which is scheduled for Thurs., Aug. 22.

The ceremony, which marks the opening of the 2019-20 academic year, begins at 11:15 a.m. in the Clayton Center for the Arts’ Ronald and Lynda Nutt Theatre and is open to the public.

During his 10th Convocation as president of Maryville College, Bogart will use Job 5:17-18, Ecclesiastes 12:12-14 and Psalms 100 to illustrate his chosen topic. 

Several take part in the ceremony

The class of 2020, members of the Board of Directors, faculty and staff members and platform speakers will march in procession. Dr. Karen Beale, associate professor of psychology, will be the macebearer, and Dr. Jenifer Greene, professor of management and chair of the faculty, will welcome attendees to the ceremony.

J. Ashley Burell, adjunct instructor in organ and organist/choirmaster at St. James Episcopal Church in Knoxville, will perform the prelude and recessional. Andrew Kerr will lead the academic procession as piper.

Zachary Plants ’20, will offer the prayer of invocation. The College’s Statement of Purpose will be read by Aaron Solomon ’20, president of the Student Government Association.

“Ride On, King Jesus,” arranged by Moses Hogan, will be performed by the Maryville College Concert Choir under the direction of Stacey Wilner, director of choral activities and lecturer in music. Chase Hatmaker ’14 will serve as piano accompanist.

The scripture reading will be read by Maria Vanegas ’20, an Isaac Anderson and Maryville College Scholar. The Rev. Dr. Anne D. McKee, campus minister, will offer prayers for the College.

Dr. Dan Klingensmith, interim vice president and dean of the College, will give the declaration of the academic year and, following the singing of the Alma Mater, McKee will conclude with the benediction.

Classes are scheduled to begin Aug. 21.

History of Convocation at Maryville College

Convocation at Maryville College is traditionally held the Thursday after the first day of classes (classes begin on a Wednesday), and the president delivers the Convocation address. But that was not always the case.

From the beginning, the College Catalogs listed “The first Chapel Service” of the year, which either fell on the day of registration or the first day of class. The first use of the word “Convocation” in the College Catalog was on Sept. 15, 1939. During that year, the opening chapel service was on registration day (Sept. 14) and “Annual Convocation” was on the first day of class (Sept. 15). 

This schedule lasted until the fall of 1956, when Convocation was held 10 days to two weeks after the first day of class. In 1965 and 1966, Annual Convocation and Founders Day were on the same day in late September.

In 1967, chapel was dropped, and Annual Convocation was held 11 days after the start of class. Edward Lindaman of the North American Aviation and Apollo Program was the speaker, according to the student newspaper, The Highland Echo.

In 1969 and for the next several years, Convocation was held on the day before or the day after the beginning of classes. Former MC President Dr. Joseph Copeland usually spoke at Convocation during the 1970s (with the exception of Dr. Alexander, chancellor of Vanderbilt University, who was the speaker in 1973). Starting in the 1980s, Convocation has been held the day after classes start, with the president serving as the speaker.


Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the Fall 2018 semester is 1,154.