Students React to Presidential Inauguration

Dr. Ken Shaw greets Raquel Acevedo, freshman education major, after Inaugural Ceremony.

Dr. Ken Shaw greets Raquel Acevedo, freshman education major, after Inaugural Ceremony.

To formally welcome new president Dr. Ken Shaw, Southwestern Adventist University held a two-day inaugural celebration last week that stirred up quite the excitement among students around campus.

The events consisted of an Inaugural Gala, a $100-a-seat benefit dinner to raise money for student scholarships, the Inaugural Ceremony, featuring faculty, past presidents, Board members, delegates, emeriti, and community guests, and a light lunch reception in the Chan Shun Centennial Library lobby.

A great deal of work was put into the preparation and execution of these events. For the actual Inauguration, the Wind Symphony, orchestra, and University Singers all performed pieces for the processional, anthem, a choral response, and the recessional. The processional was accompanied by a bagpipe player in a kilt, a rare sight on the campus of Southwestern.

Each university group as well as the community provided a welcoming speech: the student body, the faculty and staff, the board of trustees, the alumni association, the community, and other colleges and universities.

After the greetings, Shaw gave his inaugural address, which many students found very inspiring and a great personification of who Shaw is and what he intended for the future of the university.

“I played with the wind symphony during the Inauguration, and really I liked his speech,” Danny Perez, senior theology major said. “It was really welcoming…inspiring I should say. It inspired me as a student to achieve something bigger and not let things hold me back.”

Perez shared his testimony at the Inaugural Gala, about how his academic success through a four-year university could only be attributed to God and the willingness of donors to express their generosity through funding student scholarships.

Some students, like Kayla Federowski, junior education major, didn’t expect such a “real” speech and were surprised to hear a deeper meaning in Shaw’s message than they expected.

“Seeing that the president himself was real, I guess, is what really impressed me,” Federowski said. “He was public and he was friendly, and it seemed like he wanted to take the position not because he was bored or above everyone. His speech was good. It didn’t seem like he was showing off like “Oh, I’m your new president!’ It was more like ‘It’s an honor to be your president!’ and I like his presence around campus. He has a sense of humor and he smiles and waves when he sees students, and he’s very approachable, like we were talking about his suit jacket and it was just very comfortable.”

Edwin Choque, senior nursing major, also expressed similar feelings about Shaw’s speech.

“I think the way he talked about the Southwestern mission really made everything fall into place as to what we stand for as a university,” Choque said.

Overall, students really seem to enjoy Shaw’s presence here on campus. They appreciate his willingness to get to know the student body and to participate in events while showing exceptional skills in getting things moving so quickly in his first semester here.

“He connects really well with the student body and makes you feel really welcome and appreciated,” Perez said. “He knows your name and knows who you are. He’s really involved in the activities around campus. From what I hear from faculty and others that he is working with, he’s doing a great job at raising money and getting the school noticed.”

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