The Opening Convocation of 2011 was entitled Higher Ground and featured presentations that encouraged the WAU community to strive for excellence.

David Dickerson on horn and Dr. Mark DiPinto on piano, offered the prelude, Allegro, a composition by Joseph Haydn.  Dean of the School of Arts and Social Science, Dr. Gaspar Colon gave the Invocation and led the congregation in singing the opening hymn, Higher Ground, with accompaniment on organ by Music Department Chair, Dr. James Bingham.

DSC_0029editedPresident Weymouth Spence and Student Association President, Ramone Griffith (pictured) welcomed the students and informed the student community of planned events for the new semester. Dean of the School of Health Professions, Science and Wellness, Dr. Gina Brown led the reading of the Scripture, Romans 12:2-5. After which, Soprano, Grace Shinn and pianist Dr. Daniel Lau performed Alleluia, a piece composed by Mozart to transition into the Address.

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Interim Provost, Dr. Ralph Johnson introduced the speaker, Senior Pastor of Manassas Seventh-Day Adventist Church,Joey Pollom (pictured). Pastor Pollom spoke about the challenges he faced in life and the joy that resulted in overcoming them. He detailed the exuberance that accompanies experiencing solutions that accompany every perceived problem.

He warned the congregation of the danger of getting caught up in superficiality and how it is impermanent and short-lived. Pastor Pollom also introduced a Biblical example to show how this seemingly modern problem is a historical issue of human nature: in the face of growing popularity, John the Baptist knew he was only paving the way for One greater than him.

The address was ended with a quoting of the scripture: “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” - Romans 12:2-3, NLT.

DSC_0111editedVice President for Ministries, Dr. Baraka Muganda (pictured) concluded the event with a Prayer of Dedication to infuse the audience with divine strength. Students, faculty, and staff moved on to Wednesday’s responsibilities as Michael Patterson on piano, Dmitry Puyul on violin and Shanti Seidel on cello executed the Postlude, Piano Trio in D minor, a Felix Mendelssohn musical piece.

Opening Convocation 2011 was a calling to overcome the lows of disappointment and not get caught up in the highs of personal achievement, but to let God transform us into perfect finished products.