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Catholic Identity


In the Community

Rankings, Awards, & Honors

Emmanuel College hosted Academic Convocation, a celebration that takes place at the start of each academic year, on September 7th in the Jean Yawkey Center gymnasium. The ceremony represents many new beginnings—new academic pursuits, new friendships and new opportunities for students to grow as leaders and ethical decision makers.  

Acting President Beth Ross and Provost/Chief Academic Officer Josef Kurtz excitedly welcomed students, faculty and staff to the annual tradition. Dr. Ross explained, “the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, who opened Emmanuel in 1919, believed that learning happens best when it takes place in the context of strong relationships and mutual support. That is one reason why this College community, from its earliest days, has begun each fall semester by convening in this special way.” 

The tradition recognizes first-year and transfer students as the newest members of the Emmanuel community, each year having special speakers including faculty, students or members of the community on stage.  

Class President Catrina Kipka ’24 reflected on her Emmanuel experience and encouraged new students to make the most of their time on campus.  

“Emmanuel College is the heart of Boston,” she said. “Just outside the gates of our beautiful campus there are endless opportunities in countless industries. Whether you’re interested in the humanities, sciences, business, education, or nursing, you are in the right place.” 

Lecturer of Biology Derek Lau, one of the recipients of the 2023 Faculty Excellence in Service Award, spoke to the students about having “the right amount of nervousness” in navigating their college journey.  

“I wish you to always be the right amount of nervous, never settle for a path that’s given to you without asking yourself if that’s truly what you want and remember to utilize everything that Emmanuel provides to make your time here amazing,” he said. 

Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences and Professor of English, Lisa Stepanski, also a 2023 recipient of the Faculty Excellence in Service award, reflected on her 35-year tenure at Emmanuel and encouraged those in attendance to approach their time at Emmanuel with an appreciation for service and the legacy of the College’s founding order. 

“I urge all of you, faculty and students alike, to discern what you ought to do—how you can best use the talents and treasures granted you in service to the common good in order to continue the legacy of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur at Emmanuel,” she said.