1780 – The Official Blog of Transylvania University

1780 | The Official Blog of Transylvania University

Religion major reflects on liminal space at Class of 2020 commencement celebration

Shawna Morton ’20 delivered remarks to graduates and families at the in-person Class of 2020 commencement celebration on Saturday, May 22. Watch video of the remarks above. The text, as prepared for delivery, is below. Good morning, I am so happy to be here at Transylvania with all of you again. I have been reflecting on what this place and what this education has meant to me since the abrupt ending to our college careers. Through my own lens as a religion major, I have been constantly reminded of the concept of rites of passage and liminal space. In 1908, Arnold Van Gennep coined the term “liminality” or “liminal space.” Part of the definition very much pertains to this occasion. Gennep’s analysis explains the desire for celebration after a change of status for an individual or social group, or transitions in the passage of time. In doing so, he placed a particular emphasis on rites of passage, and claimed that “such rituals marking, helping, or celebrating individual or collective passages through the cycle of life or of nature exist in every culture.” In order for the right of passage to be complete, we must pass through the “liminal space,” or the space in between. When Gennep refers to this middle stage he “implies an actual passing through the threshold that marks the boundary between two phases, and the term ‘liminality.’” Those passing through the space do not have a specific

Remarks to the Transylvania Class of 2022 at the First-Year Induction Ceremony

Good morning and welcome to Transylvania. We’re delighted to kick off a new school year by honoring you, the class of 2022, and your family members who have joined you here today. All of us at Transylvania are honored that you have chosen to spend four pivotal years on our campus, and we take our commitment to you and to your education very seriously. I have recently navigated the process of selecting a college with both of my daughters, and I am now in the middle of that process with my son. I know how trying it can be. So let me first offer my congratulations on your having reached this milestone. As students, I expect you feel some relief and not a small amount of anxiety. Those jumbled feelings are perfectly normal. Talk with your roommate, your floor mates, your classmates. I expect you’ll find they all share your excitement and your concerns. It’s a while ago now, but I remember experiencing a similar sense of trepidation when I first arrived on campus. As the son of immigrants and the first in my family to go away to school, I was lost. In fact, I was so homesick, I decided to withdraw after a couple of weeks and drove home on a Friday afternoon.  The next morning my father told me to have a job by Monday morning. So I called a friend who had a construction company to ask for a job. He

More than 300 students welcomed as Class of 2022 arrives at Transylvania University

LEXINGTON, Ky.—Transylvania University will welcome students from across Kentucky, the nation and the world when more than 300 new Pioneers move in Friday. Kentucky students make up a majority of the incoming class, with nearly 80 percent coming from the Commonwealth. Students from Ohio, Florida, Tennessee, Indiana, Illinois and Michigan make up another 13 percent of the first-year class, with 10 other states also represented. They are joined by international students from Albania, Australia and Estonia.  Almost 18 percent of first-year students are first-generation college students. Twenty percent of the incoming Class of 2022 are students of color, making this class the most diverse ever to enroll at Transylvania. This is the result of a sustained effort by the university to diversify its student body and foster an inclusive campus environment. “We’re excited to welcome our new class and guide them through the transformative education for which Transylvania is well known. They will be introduced to new ideas and perspectives that will give them the freedom to choose their most desired paths which, after all, lies at the heart of our liberal arts mission,” President Seamus Carey said. “The college years are an opportunity for dialogue and interpersonal interactions that help our students lead more fulfilling lives and develop the skills necessary to succeed in the modern workplace.” The Class of 2022 has already demonstrated its success in academics. At Transylvania, they’ll have the choice of 46 majors and pre-professional