Geoffrey S. Mearns
Fall 2021 Convocation Remarks
Friday, August 20, 2021, 9 a.m.
Emens Auditorium

‘Extraordinary capacity to excel’

This year, I begin my fifth academic year as the president of Ball State University. Today—and every day—it is an honor to serve you.

The first time I stood before you on this stage, I spoke about how our University was strong and getting stronger.

On that day in August 2017, I could not have predicted that a novel coronavirus would bring the world to a halt, upending our lives. And yet, these past 16 months have demonstrated our extraordinary capacity to excel in spite of these historic challenges.

‘10,000 students to earn their degree’

Since the advent of the pandemic in March 2020, we have enabled and empowered more than 10,000 students to earn their degree at our University.

This remarkable feat was made possible because of the hard work and dedication of our faculty and staff. Every day, you commit to our students. And every day, your commitment is the reason we are able to fulfill our vital mission.

‘One of our enduring values is innovation’

...the real foundation of our bright future is our continued commitment to the enduring values of our University.

As I prepared my remarks for today, I was struck by how the pandemic created an opportunity for us to demonstrate these values in new and unforeseen ways.

As you know, one of our enduring values is innovation.

I suspect that COVID-19 made all of your jobs harder. But many of you harnessed this unprecedented moment to better serve our students, our community, our state, and our country.

‘Your engagement will change their lives’

So, as classes begin on Monday, please remember that every moment you are given to interact face-to-face with one of our students is an opportunity—it’s a gift.

Please know that your engagement will change their lives—will change their lives for the better.

‘Ball State felt like home’

Last Spring, our colleagues from Admissions asked our future Cardinals to share why they chose to come to our University. There were many different responses, but one word kept surfacing in their responses.

One student wrote, “When I came for a tour, it felt like home, and I could see myself there.”

The mother of another prospective student wrote, “To her, Ball State felt like home the minute we walked on campus … I knew before she left she’d found her happy place.”

Another student wrote: “At my visit, BSU immediately felt like home.”

These affirmations demonstrate the intangible essence of what a Ball State experience can be for our students.

We can be the reason our students know, deep in their hearts, that there is no better place for them. This is it. They belong here.