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Salve Regina to celebrate Convocation, welcome 554 freshmen in Class of 2020

NEWPORT, R.I. (Sept. 1, 2016) – They hail from 20 states and several countries, including El Salvador, Switzerland, Italy, Japan, Greece, Belgium, Mongolia and Ecuador. Rhode Islanders make up 13 percent of Salve Regina’s incoming Class of 2020 and include among them Abby Wasylean, valedictorian from the school just down the street, Rogers High.

On Tuesday, Sept. 6, these 554 first time, full time freshmen who make up the Class of 2020 will gather for Convocation, a ceremony that formally welcomes them to their new home for the next four years and serves as the official kicks-off for the 2016-2017 academic year.

The public ceremony will begin at 3 p.m. on the lawn of Wakehurst Student Center, Ochre Point Avenue. James M. Ludes, vice president for public research and initiatives at Salve Regina, and the executive director of the university’s Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy, will present the keynote address.

Remarks will also be offered by Salve Regina President Jane Gerety, RSM, and the Dean of the Class of 2020, Donald St. Jean, associate professor of music. The ceremony will also include the inauguration of Student Government Association officers.

Sister Jane said when she personally welcomes this new class of talented students on Tuesday, she will encourage them to proceed with a spirit of openness during their time here, and to be willing to have their minds and hearts changed and expanded. It may be confusing and uncomfortable, she cautions, but that’s what the university is for.

“I’m humbled to share some thoughts with the class of 2020 as they begin their time at Salve Regina University,” Ludes said, anticipating his keynote address. “They come to the university on the eve of an historic election with the world on the brink of seismic shifts in the role technology plays in our lives and in our economy. Their working lives, the global economy, even the nature of our politics will be shaped by these shifts, and so my plea to students at Salve and everywhere is to get engaged in these debates, to use these years in the academy to think, to learn, and to develop not just a personal ethic, but a public ethic. The kind of world they want to live in will shape the world we become.”

About the speakers:

Dr. James M. Ludes
Dr. James M. Ludes (Jim) is vice president for public research and initiatives, as well as executive director of the university’s Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy. From July 2006 to August 2011, he was the executive director of the American Security Project (ASP), a think-tank in Washington, DC.

After the election of President Barack Obama, Ludes was a member of the President-Elect’s Transition Team for the Department of Defense. From 2002 to 2006, he was Legislative Assistant to Sen. John Kerry for defense and foreign policy. Prior to his work in the Senate, Ludes was Editor-in-Chief of “National Security Studies Quarterly” (NSSQ), a defense and national security journal. He is editor of, and contributor to, “Iraq Uncensored” (2009) and previously co-edited two books: “Attacking Terrorism” (2004) and “Twenty-First Century Proliferation” (2001). He earned his Ph.D. in history from Georgetown University and received his bachelor’s degree in history and modern languages from Providence College in 1993.

Dr. Donald St. Jean

Dr. Donald St. Jean is an associate professor of music at Salve Regina University, and is Dean of the Class of 2020. He directs University Chorus, Madrigals Chorus, and oversees Salve Regina’s student-run a cappella groups, Cliffnotes, and Pitches with Attitude. He also teaches courses in music theory, conducting, individual voice, language diction, and choral teaching methods.

St. Jean has led the choruses of Salve Regina in concert tours of Greece, Italy, Ireland, and Canada. In March 2016, he directed a chorus of Salve Regina students in several performances in Vienna and Salzburg, Austria. He has performed extensively as a singer and conductor in the classical, pop, and jazz musical genres. In 2014, he earned his doctorate in music education at Boston University, culminating a period of seven years of study that he undertook while continuing to teach at Salve Regina.