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The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

St. Edward’s University hosts Convocation 2024, brings educators from across the world to remember, create hope

Max Hoelker / Hilltop Views
Epau giving his speech on the final day of Convocation. From Uganda, Epau attended Holy Cross Lake View Secondary School in Jinja, Uganda before coming to St. Edward’s. He is the first Ugandan Moreau Scholar to come to SEU.

Holy Cross Educators from across the world gathered for three days at St. Edward’s University from Feb. 27-29 for a yearly event called Convocation. Organized by the Holy Cross Institute (HCI) on campus, this year’s theme was “With Hope To Bring,” and many of the sessions revolved around this excerpt from the Holy Cross Charisms


Day One

Tuesday, the first day of the event, focused on Holy Cross high schools. After a short opening prayer at 9:15 a.m., attendees went to two talks from administrators of different Holy Cross high schools, one from California and one from Indiana. These talks were focused specifically on hope. 

“We’re called to be stewards of hope,” theology teacher Riley Seigel said. “Hope is not just something that we possess for ourselves, it’s a gift that you give to other people. And so I think being able to remind ourselves as educators and, in fact, to see these schools and universities doing that too … was really cool.”

Attendees then broke off into breakout sessions to discuss these ideas of hope. The breakout sessions were hour-and-fifteen-minute-long blocks dedicated to conversation and collaboration. Located in the Mabee Ballrooms, attendees sat at round tables with 10 chairs. Executive Director of the Holy Cross Institute Richard Bautch encouraged everyone to sit with people they did not know to get new perspectives and form new connections. 

At noon, attendees broke for lunch, optional mass and an open house at HCI’s office in Premont Hall

They reconvened at 2 p.m. for a selection of talks, separated into two sessions of seven talks each from Holy Cross high school educators that were scattered across Ragsdale and Premont. Each talk was given by an exemplar of different ways in which the Holy Cross mission is lived out in the school in order to give attendees ways in which to improve their own schools. 


Day Two

Wednesday was the centerpiece of Convocation. The day began at 9 a.m. with two additional talks on hope, one from a high school in Connecticut and the other from the University of Portland. This was followed by another breakout session.

The capstone of the talks was the keynote speech by Brother Prodip Placid Gomes, the Second Assistant of the Congregation of Holy Cross, at 12:30 p.m. in Mabee Ballroom. Gomes, hailing from Bangladesh, now lives in Rome.

Gomes’ talk, titled “They will shine eternally in the skies like the stars of heaven,” was about Christian education and the value of the connection between educator and student. 

Hilltop Views alumna Breze Reyes, a Holy Cross high school student and St. Edward’s alumna, posing with her high school classmate, Sabrina Lemus. Lemus was attending as the Marketing Communications Coordinator for their high school alma mater, Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, California.

“Being an effective teacher or educator is regarded as a call from God, a true vocation,” Brother Gomes said. “One cannot fully embody the patience required to teach effectively without this divine calling. Those qualified by God to teach view this vocation as a gift from God, accepting it with profound gratitude, comprehensive knowledge and complete awareness.”

The keynote was followed by a series of six talks based on “Laudato Si’,” Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical on consumerism and environmentalism, at 2 p.m. The talks centered on various environmental and humanitarian initiatives and conversations headed by Holy Cross-related organizations around the world, like the Sisters of Holy Cross and the John Paul II Justice and Peace Centre in Uganda. 

After the panel, there was an interlude for mass in the chapel and a reception at Munday Library before the main event of the night: the banquet.

At 7 p.m., all of the attendees gathered for a meal in Mabee Ballrooms. This was a chance for Holy Cross students to catch up with their high school educators and for awards to be given out to Holy Cross educators.


Day Three

The final day of Convocation focused on higher education. The day began at 9:15 a.m. with two talks on Artificial Intelligence (AI), one from SEU professor Kris Sloan and the other from Eric Anctil, a professor from the University of Portland. 

After the breakout sessions, SEU seniors Emmanuel Epau and Julia Petrokaitis gave speeches. Both were attendees of Holy Cross high schools.

“My journey continuing has embarked on a new chapter here at St. Edward’s University, which has been nothing short of transformative,” Epau said. “I was welcomed in a community that embraces diversity, fosters intellectual curiosity, and inspires the commitment to service and justice.”

At 2 p.m., attendees had nine different talks to choose from to attend, each of which repeated in the second afternoon session at 3:15 p.m.

At 4:30 p.m., the closing ceremony rounded out Convocation 2024.

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Max Hoelker
Max Hoelker, Copy Editor
Max is a sophomore English literature major with a minor in psychology. Although this is his first year with Hilltop Views, he is ecstatic to dive into writing, editing and all things in between. In his limited free time, Max loves to spend time with friends and read.

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