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2012 News Releases

Alumni association president gives advice at Convocation

September 18, 2012

Students and their decorated caps at the 2012 convocation Lindsay Johnson and Chuck Wongus show off their mortarboards. During Convocation, seniors are presented outrageously decorated mortarboards by their little sisters/little brothers in a long-standing Longwood custom known as "capping."

The advice that a Longwood University alumna gave at Convocation didn't come from a book. It came from her life - and has influenced her life. [Watch the speech on YouTube]

"Sometimes you have to do something bold and crazy," Colleen Margiloff '97, president of the Alumni Association, told seniors at the ceremony Sept. 13 officially opening the academic year. Margiloff did something "bold and crazy" when, after teaching kindergarten for a year in Buckingham County following her Longwood graduation, she moved to New York City where she had never lived and didn't know what she would do.

"All my college friends thought  I was crazy," she said. "What was I doing in New York? But for me, I just believed that my path was do to this. Whatever this was. To be bold. To be scared. To just believe that it would all work out. And it did.

"This is your moment to think about what your bold next step is going to be. Move to a new city? Visit a new country? Hike a part of the Appalachian Trail? Getting out of your comfort zone is the scariest, most rewarding thing you can do. What will be your leap of faith?"

Margiloff, who lives in suburban Rye, N.Y., with her husband and three children, has taught sixth-grade English at middle schools in New York City and is on the board of Behind the Book, a nonprofit organization that motivates young people to become engaged readers. Another piece of advice she dispensed at convocation, to "get a mentor," had a Longwood connection.

"Fifteen years later, nothing brings me more happiness on this campus than going to see Dr. [Tim] Pierson who was my dean of students, or Joyce Trent who was my Kappa Delta adviser," she said. "These are people who know me, and I trust their insights and guidance. They have been invaluable."

Marianne Radcliff '92, rector of the Board of Visitors, introduced Margiloff. "This is a unique tradition," said Radcliff, adding that she remembered Convocation well from her student days. "It is the perfect blend of ceremony and irreverence. Take every opportunity to expand your horizons, make the most of every moment and go the extra mile for yourself and others. Some things endure from 1992 - an excellent faculty, you don't get lost in the crowd and you will make friends that last a lifetime."

Three Longwood faculty members received awards at Convocation for superior teaching. Dr. Lissa Power de-Fur, professor of communication sciences and disorders (CSDS), director of the Longwood Center for Communications, Literacy and Learning, and coordinator of the graduate CSDS program, received the Maria Bristow Starke Award for Faculty Excellence; Dr. Cathy Roy, associate professor of exercise science, the Maude Glenn Raiford Award for Excellence in Teaching; and Dr. Christopher Gulgas, assistant professor of chemistry, the Junior Faculty Award.

View the Convocation photos on Facebook