Geneva College celebrated new and returning students, faculty and staff, with the annual academic convocation on Friday, Aug. 29.
After the freshman class processed into Metheny Fieldhouse, Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Ken Carson extended a greeting. Dean of Student Development Mike Loomis officially presented the class of 2012, and Academic Dean Dr. David Guthrie made a charge to class members to find and fulfill their calling.
English professor Dr. Mark Haas, recipient of the 2006–07 Excellence in Teaching award, addressed the gathered audience with a message titled “Pressing In and Pressing On; or What I Did on my Summer Vacation.” Using circumstances surrounding the house fire that affected his family this past summer, Haas encouraged the gathered audience to persevere and trust in God.
“Be faithful and hopeful in your academic calling,” Haas said. “All of you: students, staff, faculty and administration.”
President Kenneth A. Smith awarded the 2007–08 faculty awards as part of the ceremony. Dr. Adel Aiken received the Excellence in Teaching award and Dr. Don Opitz received the Excellence in Scholarship award.
Aiken, an associate professor in the education department, has been teaching at Geneva in various capacities since 1987. A Geneva graduate, Aiken also earned her master’s degree from Westminster College and completed her doctoral work at the University of Pittsburgh. She has a great passion and expertise for the teaching of reading.
Opitz is an associate professor of sociology and higher education, as well as the director of Geneva’s Master of Arts in Higher Education program. He received his undergraduate degree from Westminster College in Pennsylvania, his master’s degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and his doctorate from Boston University. Opitz recently co-authored The Outrageous Idea of Academic Faithfulness: A Guide for Students (Brazos Press) with Derek Melleby. The book, which encourages students to a life that integrates their education and Christian faith, is already in its third printing.
Geneva College hosts a chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, an international English honors society open to English and Writing majors of high academic standing.