Convocation 2012 Excellence in Teaching Address

The academic welcome at Convocation included Adam Rowe '14, President of the Student Government Association, Mr. Winthrop Smith, Champlain's 2012 Distinguished Citizen honoree, and Assistant Professor David Mona, the 2003-05 Edward Phelps Lyman Professorship recipient for great teaching.

Robin Abramson, Provost and Cheif Academic Officer at Champlain College, introduced recipients of The Edward Phelps Lyman Professorship Award, which is awarded to a senior faculty member of the College community who has shown dedication to students and Champlain College through a record of service and excellence in teaching and advising and through work on faculty and College committees. In addition, they have demonstrated a commitment to the College to educate people for careers in business and community services through work with students in academics and activities and who are active citizens of the community at large. This year's recipient was Laurel Bongiorno, Program Director of Masters in Early Childhood Education. "Laurel has been and continues to be one of the most engaged faculty members at Champlain," said Abramson. "With more than twelve years as a full-time faculty member at Champlain, she is a veteran of her program and has participated in just about every committee relevant to her leadership positions."

Since Bongiorno could not make it to Convocation, David Mona, Associate Professor of Accounting and fellow Lyman recipient, spoke on behalf of her:

Excellence in Teaching Address:

Dear Class of 2016,

I want to thank my colleague Associate Professor Mona for reading this letter to you on my behalf. I'm unable to be at convocation today because I'm at my own graduation ceremony...AGAIN.

I've graduated from college three times now: once for my bachelor's degree in business and economics, once for my master's degree in early childhood education, and now, this third time for my Ph.D. in education with a specialization in early childhood education. I'm the program director here at Champlain College for the master's degree in education, and I've taught here since you were all about 5 years old.

Since I've been to college three times, I thought I would share with you my "top ten list" of what I've learned along the way about succeeding in college whether I was 18 or 48!

#10 Take care of yourself! Eat well, sleep well, and get some exercise.
#9 Go to class! That's half of succeeding in college!
#8 Do the reading! We choose books very carefully. You are part of a learning community now. Take the time to read.
#7 Have fun and play. College offers many opportunities. You will probably hear President Finney talk about learning, playing, and serving. It's great advice for college and life. Work hard and play hard.
#6 Choose your friends wisely...they may be your friends for life. In fact, I just had dinner with one of my best friends from college last week, and I met her at orientation, my very first weekend of college, when I was 18.
#5 Get to know your professors. These are very smart, very nice people. I can say that getting to know students is one of the best parts of my job. I remained in touch with several of my college professors for years; my favorite was the professor that led my study abroad trip to England, Scotland, and Wales. Again, get to know your professors. Stop by our office hours! (And as an aside, I highly recommend studying abroad!)
#4 Get involved. There is so much to do here. Find something you enjoy and do it! -- volunteer in schools, get involved with the student government, ski, work out, join another club, and explore Burlington and Vermont
#3 Remember that you are in charge of yourselves now. Make decisions that will positively impact your future. Oh, and use a calendar, planner, Google calendar, or even Siri - it will make your life so much easier.
#2 Remember #10 and #9 - Eat, Sleep, and Go to Class!
#1 Number One, the top of the list, is serious -- BE TRUE TO YOURSELF. Remember why you are here at Champlain College and focus on your hopes, dreams, and goals. You are future accountants, social workers, teachers, game designers, police officers, graphic designers, psychologists, entrepreneurs, technology experts, and you may even have jobs that haven't even been created yet.

    So, remember why you are here; be true to yourselves, and, on behalf of the faculty, I wish you all the best as students at Champlain College.


    Founded in 1878, Champlain College is a small, not-for-profit, private college in Burlington, Vermont, with additional campuses in Montreal, Canada, and Dublin, Ireland. Champlain offers a traditional undergraduate experience from its beautiful campus overlooking Lake Champlain and over 90 residential undergraduate and online undergraduate and graduate degree programs and certificates. Champlain's distinctive career-driven approach to higher education embodies the notion that true learning occurs when information and experience come together to create knowledge. Champlain College is included in the Princeton Review's The Best 384 Colleges: 2019 Edition. For the fourth year in a row, Champlain was named a "Most Innovative School" in the North by U.S. News & World Report's 2019 "America's Best Colleges,” and a “Best Value School” and is ranked in the top 100 “Regional Universities of the North” and in the top 25 for “Best Undergraduate Teaching.” Champlain is also featured in the Fiske Guide to Colleges for 2019 as one of the "best and most interesting schools" in the United States, Canada and Great Britain and is a 2019 College of Distinction. For more information, visit