BENNINGTON >> Southern Vermont College celebrated the start of the school year and welcomed new students at the annual academic convocation exercises on Tuesday.
Returning students, faculty and staff gathered in the Everett Mansion Courtyard to kick off the new year and recognize 130 new students.
Emily Bagley, a senior biology major from Charlton, Mass., urged the new cohorts to take risks.
"A lot of people like to play it safe," Bagley said. "But for me, taking risks and working hard is what has gotten me great opportunities."
One of those risks was running for — and eventually being elected as — president of the school's Student Government Association.
Bagley also spoke about a great influence from faculty and staff, who she said she could always rely on and allowed her to go above and beyond. She said she benefitted from individualized attention in the classroom with small class sizes, and was also able to get special accommodations in the dorms for a health condition.
"SVC is here for you," President David Rees Evans said.
Evans, who has been with the college since January 2015, said he gets much excitement from talking about what students are doing at the school. He said he looks forward to what the class of 2020 will accomplish. He also spoke about the roots and importance of a liberal arts education.
The Romans and Greeks were onto something, Evans said. They believed an education in those arts "was a foundation necessary for individuals to function freely as citizens."
To that end, students are encouraged to keep learning outside of the classroom. In addition to formal instruction, the new students will be able to take part in internships, practicums, career placement programs, and countless community service opportunities, Evans said.
"We want you to succeed at all levels," he said.
Contact Ed Damon at 802-447-7567, ext. 111.