Huff Award Winner Delivers Convocation Address

Dr. Ethan Birney Delivers Keynote at SMC’s 2023 Convocation

Dr. Ethan Birney delivers the keynote address during SMC’s 2023 Convocation.

Spartanburg Methodist College Professor of History, Dr. Ethan G. Birney, the 2023 winner of the Archie Vernon and Margaret Wannamaker Huff Faculty Award, presented the keynote address at the College’s annual Convocation ceremony. 

Recognizing the challenges faced by students in the post-COVID era, where social relationships have been impacted, Dr. Birney emphasized the positive impact of strong social connections. Dr. Birney’s mission was to inspire incoming students to build meaningful bonds with their peers, staff, and faculty, as these connections can lead to a more fulfilling college experience.   

“My life and career have been positively shaped by both the friendships and faculty relationships I forged throughout my college experience,” said Dr. Birney. “As our students launch their college careers, I hope it will be the same for them.” 

In addition to his personal experience, the inspiration for his remarks also arose from several post-COVID studies which have emphasized that not only are students more likely to have positive outcomes if they have strong social relationships, but also that many students are struggling to develop those relationships.  

Dr. Birney hopes students find a strong sense of support and belonging as they join the SMC family, and that they are emboldened to reach out to their new classmates and begin friendships that will extend throughout college and beyond.   

“I am honored to have an opportunity to address the incoming freshman. The beginning of freshman year represents an important time of transition in the lives of our students and their families, and I am excited for the opportunity to be part of such a momentous occasion,” Dr. Birney said.   

Convocation is a ceremony that marks the beginning of the academic year. The ceremony welcomes new students, recognizes academic achievements, and sets the tone for the new year. At SMC, convocation is a way to inspire students as they begin their educational journey.  

Dr. Birney’s love for SMC and the students will serve as an inspiration to students and faculty as we go into the 2023-2024 academic year. Dr. Birney is a history professor who specializes in Medieval and African History. He joined SMC in 2020. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *