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Point Park University students at Convocation 2016. Photo | John Altdorfer

More than 620 freshmen and 280 new transfer students - representing 34 states and 11 countries - celebrated the new academic year at Point Park University's annual Convocation Aug. 26 at the Wyndham Grand Hotel in Downtown Pittsburgh.

"Convocation is a celebration of our common purpose to assist you to achieve your goals both in the classroom and in your life," said Provost John Pearson, Ph.D.

Maverick Rauen, a musical theatre major from El Diamante High School in Visalia, Calif., said he was eager to begin his college career at Point Park.

"My experience at Point Park has been great so far. Moving across the country was a big transition for me, but everyone here is so nice," Rauen said.

"Point Park staff and students helped my classmates and me move in, and it was a really positive experience. I'm loving college life so far," said Johnny Oliver, a sports, arts and entertainment management major from Carlynton High School in Carnegie, Pa.

Classmate Jessica Smith, a creative writing/English major from Knoch High School in Sarver, Pa., said she is excited to pursue her dream of becoming a writer.

"Not many colleges have my major, so I was really excited to find Point Park's program," Smith said. "I've been writing since I was five and have always been interested in this field. Plus, my dad is a poet and writing is our bond that we share."

Members of the Point Park community offered advice to help guide the Class of 2020 on their new path as college students. Here's a bit of what they had to say:


Pictured is Paul Hennigan at Convocation 2016. Paul Hennigan, Ed.D.

President of Point Park University

"Get to know one another. Get to know the faculty and staff who are here to help you. Open your mind to everything around you. Learn how to do scholarly research, analyze things, and put it all together to form thoughts and opinions."


Pictured is Provost John Pearson at Convocation 2016.John Pearson, Ph.D.

Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs

"Don't hesitate to ask questions and take control of your academic plan and university experience. You will be most successful in the classroom if you get to know your faculty members, other students and the community. I encourage you to be a lifelong learner and continue to write your story."


Pictured is Gary Bracken, senior vice president for enrollment management. Gary Bracken, Ed.M.

Vice President for Enrollment Management
"I wish for new students the ability to see their enrollment at Point Park for the great opportunity it is. The people they are about to meet and the experiences they are about to have, both in and out of the classroom, will impact the rest of their lives. I urge them to welcome the good times as well as the hard times because there's much to be learned from each of them. They will be surprised at how the lessons they learn here will be used in every facet of their lives from this day forward."


Pictured is School of Communication alumna Adelyn Biedenbach. Adelyn Biedenbach, M.S.

B.A. in journalism, 2010 (Point Park University)
M.S. in New Media Management, 2013 (Syracuse University)
Director, Digital Media + Communications, Florida Panthers

"Learn from everyone you meet, let every class you like support you on your journey and every class or assignment that's challenging teach you something. You only have four years here after all, and trust me that they'll go way too fast and you'll be wanting them back."


Pictured is School of Communication student Blaine King. Blaine King

Broadcast reporting major, graduating May 2017
President of United Student Government

"Get involved, meet new people and don't be afraid to take chances. Those chances you take will help you become you, and that's how we become ourselves and how we can ensure victory in this game called college."


More About: sports, arts and entertainment management, Conservatory of Performing Arts, journalism, transfer, Downtown Pittsburgh, School of Arts and Sciences, creative writing, faculty, Convocation, Carlynton Junior-Senior High School, School of Communication, Knoch High School, broadcast reporting, Rowland School of Business, musical theatre