Spring Convocation aims at an Awakening on Lee's campus
According to Vice President for Student Development Mike Hayes, it's time for an “awakening” on campus.
“Awakening” is, after all, the theme for this year's Convocation. Hayes told the Lee Clarion he thinks the theme will resonate with a lot of Lee's students.
“Our speakers and artists always bring a perspective that is relevant to students’ lives. It definitely can be a time of renewal and growth if we approach it with the right mindset,” Hayes said.
The lineup for this semester includes plenty of familiar faces. President Paul Conn will kickoff convocation this Sunday night, followed by internationally recognized artist Mitchell Tolle on Monday night. Dr. Carolyn Dirksen will lead Convocation chapel Tuesday morning, and rapper Trip Lee will hold the stage that night. Mike Hayes is set to close out the week on Wednesday night. In celebration and closing of the week, Phil Wickham will give a message in chapel on Thursday morning before performing in U-Church that night.
Hayes, who is responsible for the organization of Convocation and the week's lineup, said he and his team have been working on the speakers list for about a year. Much prayer, he said, went into the process.
For Carolyn Dirksen, who has taught at Lee for 50 years, this will mark her first time speaking at Convocation.
“It’s a huge honor to be asked to speak,” Dirksen said. “There aren't a lot of openings for that, so to take one of them is really a huge deal.”
And plenty of people are involved in filling those openings. Hayes said the movers and shakers working behind the scenes are vital to the success of Convocation.
“My office works to invite different speakers to get them scheduled months ahead of time. The Campus Ministries Office, led by Jimmy Harper, works with ushers and ensures that we’re ready to provide a positive experience during the services,” Hayes said. “The tech crew, supervised by Josh York, works tirelessly to get ready for the week. There’s no way Convocation happens without the help of a lot of people.”
Dirksen isn't the only one who will grace the Convocation stage for the first time this semester. Of the five people speaking at convocation this semester, three of them have not spoken in Convocation before.
Campus pastor Jimmy Harper said Convocation is a way for the university to address the student as a whole instead of simply academically.
“At Lee University we try to do education in a way that is more than just what we learn in the classroom. We look at education holistically,” Harper said. “We want to instruct the students emotionally, physically, spiritually, cognitively and just any way that we can. I think that Convocation gives a place for that instruction and learning in a spiritual sense.”
Harper said he hopes the week and the speakers mean more to the students than just a requirement.
“Convocation helps Lee carry out part of its mission, and that is to be a campus where Christ is king and to introduce students to a relationship with God,” Harper said. “I would hope that students wouldn’t see this as just another requirement that they have to check off their to-do list. This is not just something to do. It is a way to engage God in your life.”
Dirksen also urged students to look at Convocation as an opportunity—one they might find to be rare in the future.
“There aren't a lot of times in your life where people of good training, good intentions and good will are doing everything they can to reach you spiritually, exactly where they think you are,” she said.
Convocation will be held in two locations: the Conn Center and the Dixon Center, in case of overflow. Convergence will lead a prayer time before each service in both buildings for those interested.