Fall 2019 Convocation: Freshman Class Encouraged to ‘Bounce Back’

Thursday, October 24, 2019

ORANGEBURG, S.C. – SC State University’s Fall Convocation Ceremony formally welcomed a new freshman class, providing encouragement and offering resources necessary to be successful during their undergraduate career. The event, which was held in the Martin Luther King Jr. Auditorium, had been previously postponed due to Hurricane Dorian.

Simeon Moultrie, SC State alumnus, pastor and chief executive officer of The Brook in Columbia, South Carolina, served as the keynote speaker for Convocation. He spoke of his experiences as a student, challenges he overcame and offered the class of 2023 insight into how to achieve their goals during college.

“All of us in the room have a story. I don’t want you to see the guy who accomplished a lot of stuff, but I want you to understand where I come from. I come from a small town. I wasn’t the most likely to do anything in high school. My grades were pretty average, but I wanted to do something big,” Moultrie said.

“I struggled with science and math and I’m not a good test taker. My dreams of going to school began to diminish, but I’m grateful that SC State gave someone like myself an opportunity. Sometimes in life, we look at people, we look at their bios and social media pages and it looks so exciting. Sometimes it’s so fake because we don’t show you our struggles. We’re always posting our best, but there are some rough sides to us,” he continued.

The Saint Stephen, South Carolina native, thanked various faculty and staff members for helping him along the way, despite his flaws.

“I’m not here because I pulled myself up by my own boot straps. I’m here because we have faculty and staff who pour into students.”

“Use your time wisely. There are two things I want you to understand about a Bulldog: One is, it’s resilient. It bounces back. Two, you have to make sure you’re courageous. Courage means you’re doing it while you’re afraid. Don’t let fear hold you back.”

Moultrie said he was not sure if he would graduate from SC State on time, but sought a tutor who helped him pass the class he needed.

“Sometimes life will put you in a place where you may not end up exactly where you want to be, but just because you did not end up there, doesn’t mean you still didn’t get the win.”

To the audience, especially the new students, he emphasized a quote from his father: “I’ll take a hard ‘C’ over an easy ‘A’ any day.”

“Class of 2023, represent your Bulldog family,” Moultrie continued.

SC State President James E. Clark presented a challenge to the new freshman class.

“I challenge you to perform at your highest level in all that you may pursue. I challenge you to start building a strong academic foundation today, in order to secure your successful future. Accept the gift that was given to you from others who came before you and those who assist you along the way, and share that gift while reaching out to others. Become yet another leader produced here in Bulldog Country. Always remember, Bulldogs bounce back,” Clark said.

Freshman Class President Alexander Conyers uplifted his peers and challenged them to leave a legacy of excellence, as many SC State graduates have done.

“I will work with each of you to ensure our class leaves a legacy at South Carolina State University. As loyal sons and daughters, we will sing our Alma Mater loud enough to be heard from the [area codes of] 864 to the 803 to the 843,” Conyers said.

“We are not just some small black school in the south. We are THE South Carolina State University of the Garden City of Orangeburg, South Carolina. We are following the legacy of 2017 Miss USA Kára McCullough, the legacy of a university that has produced more NFL Hall of Famers than USC [Columbia] and Clemson combined, the legacy of NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Darius Leonard, numerous doctors, lawyers, educators, entertainers and business owners. I’ve been to 18 straight SC State Homecomings and I’ve seen great freshman classes, and we will be even better.”