Southern Virginia to Hold Convocation Friday, Sept. 4

· September 1, 2015

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Southern Virginia University Provost Madison U. Sowell will give an address titled “Festina Lente (‘Make Haste Slowly’): How to Make the Most of Your Education” at Southern Virginia’s 2015 Convocation on Friday, Sept. 4, at 11 a.m. in the Stoddard Center.

Convocation at Southern Virginia is a formal gathering of faculty, staff, administrators and students to officially celebrate the new academic year and welcome new students. Faculty members dress in their academic robes, and the highest-ranking professor — Dr. Beth Schramm, who has held the rank of full professor for the longest period of time — leads them into the assembly. Other attendees are encouraged to dress with appropriate respect for the ceremonial gathering.

Prior to his arrival at Southern Virginia, Provost Sowell served as director of the honors program and associate dean of undergraduate education at Brigham Young University. He is a professor emeritus of Italian and comparative literature at BYU, where he served on the faculty for 30 years.

He was chair of BYU’s Department of French and Italian for nearly a decade and was named an Alcuin Fellow, a Karl G. Maeser General Education Professor, and the Scheuber and Veinz Professor of Humanities and Languages.

Provost Sowell received a bachelor’s degree from BYU, and both a master’s degree and a doctorate from Harvard University. While at Harvard, he won the Jacoby Prize for scholarship and his department’s prize for outstanding teaching. His scholarship focuses on the Italian epic tradition. He is the author, editor or translator of several books and over one hundred scholarly articles, encyclopedia entries and book reviews.

The Latin phrase of Provost Sowell’s address, “Festina Lente,” refers to the ancient Roman paradox that the wise person “hastens cautiously.”

In the following weeks, local community members and Southern Virginia faculty, staff and students are invited to hear from devotional and forum speakers in the Stoddard Center each Friday morning at 11 a.m. Recordings of past forum and devotional speeches may be accessed online.