Fall Convocation: Uniting for the Common Good

by Christine Hargraves

Students, faculty, staff, and community members gathered in Wait Chapel on the morning of September 5 for Fall Convocation, a service that formally welcomes the new academic year at the School of Divinity. Though this happens every year, this year’s convocation was particularly special due to the return of Melissa Rogers, who delivered the address.

Dean Gail O’Day welcomed everyone and recommended that this time be used “to reflect together on the larger purposes of theological education.” O’Day then directed everyone’s attention to Rogers by warmly welcoming her and calling attention to her current vocation.

Rogers currently serves as a Special Assistant to the President of the United States and Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. However, those at School of Divinity know her best as their former faculty member and friend from when she directed the school’s Center for Religion and Public Affairs.

Before beginning her address, Rogers took the time to thank members of the School of Divinity community for their support and prayers. Rogers stated, “The knowledge that we share this bond and we can renew it at times like these is incredibly meaningful to me, thank you.”

In her address entitled “Faith, Values and the Common Good,” Rogers encouraged students to explore their callings in this new semester and to view partnerships with the government as an avenue for helping those in need. Rogers shared stories of times when she saw the government and community organizations effectively unite under an important cause. Those causes included providing meals, health care, and helping children of incarcerated parents.

[Pictured above: Rogan Kersh, Wake Forest University Provost, Melissa Rogers, and Gail R. O’Day, Dean of the School of Divinity]

Expressing her gratitude, Rogers stated, “Faith and community leaders and organizations often serve as connective tissue between the government and people in need.” She assured those who felt called to be leaders fighting for the common good that the government would be there to help along the way. 

Listen to Melissa Roger’s address: [audio:/uploads/audio/fall-2013-convocation-rogers-address.mp3|titles=Melissa Rogers: “Faith, Values, and the Common Good”]


Media Contact: Mark Batten

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