story info submitted by the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith
Television anchor Daren Bobb pulled an old saying attributed to a college professor – “Look to your left. Look to your right, because one of you won’t be here next year” – and turned it a new direction when he spoke Aug. 19 to new students entering the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith.
Bobb’s first edited version said, “Look to your left, look to your right, you’ve just seen two awesome people who are going to do great things at UA Fort Smith and beyond.”
His remarks came as part of the New Student Convocation held at UAFS, a formal academic ceremony designed to officially welcome the Class of 2016. This was the third New Student Convocation at UAFS.
Bobb, evening news anchor at KFSM-TV, continued to add new endings to the quote, encouraging the new UAFS students to get to know the people next to them, “because they will be here next year.”
“At UA Fort Smith, you’ll find many of the area’s leading thinkers to serve as your faculty and mentors, and you’ll find some of the finest facilities in which to pursue your studies,” he said. “But your fellow students also represent a rich resource, a resource to help you expand your perspective, hone your interests and pursue your passions.”
Bobb also encouraged students to ask themselves what they could learn from those on their right and left at the convocation, as well as what each student could teach those sitting next to them. He furthered commanded the students to demand excellence from their fellow students as their fellow students should demand it from them.
He then challenged the students to fail, but in a constructive way.
“I want to suggest that you risk some failure,” he said, “just a little bit of failure. To allow yourself the luxury of failing is liberating.”
Bobb told students it is good to put their best foot forward, but if they tried to take that attitude too far, if they always tried to seem perfect, if they never admitted that they aren’t perfect, they risked not being really themselves.
“And, if you’re not yourself, you can miss the chance of making truly deep connections with your friends, with your mentors, with those people who can most help you learn to grow,” he said.
Bobb made it clear he wasn’t encouraging the students to randomly try things at which they might fail.
“The value of failing at something must be measured by the worth of trying it in the first place,” he said. “Failing wisely isn’t really failing at all. It’s learning how to be truly successful.”
In ending his remarks, he pointed the students again to those on their left and those on their right.
“Those people you’ll find on your left and right all around UA Fort Smith -- including your faculty and your classmates and the many other mentors you can find here -- are the ones who can help you understand when you might push yourself a bit farther and what you can learn if you happen to fail.
“UA Fort Smith is a place where you can find guides to success, not only on your left and on your right, but all around you,” he said, “and we are absolutely delighted to have you join us. Welcome to UA Fort Smith.”
Other speakers with “how to succeed remarks” included Dr. Lee Krehbiel, vice chancellor for student affairs; Lisa Magallanes of Greenwood, president of the Student Government Association; James Perry of Fort Smith, a 2006 UAFS graduate who teaches at Sunnymede Elementary School; and Dr. Cammie Sublette of Fort Smith, associate professor of English; and Dr. Paul B. Beran, UAFS chancellor.
Other program participants included Alexandra Wilson of Greenwood, who led the student pledge; Dr. Ray Wallace of Fort Smith, provost and senior vice chancellor, with a welcome and the closing remarks; and mathematics instructor Matthew Utz of Van Buren, who is chair of the Faculty Senate, marshal and bearer of the mace, who gave a call to order.
Music included the UAFS Faculty/Student Brass Ensemble, made up of Dr. Matthew Vangiel of Fort Smith, assistant professor of high brass, on the trumpet, and Dr. Alexandra Zacharella of Fort Smith, director of bands, on the trombone, as well as students Shane Winford, Ethan Shaw, Joseph Jarvis, MaeLeigh Maudlin, Jered May, Luke Alexander, Caleb Capps and Greg Bowles.
Dr. Rager H. Moore II, director of choral activities, sang the National Anthem and led the Alma Mater, with Terri Bailey of Fort Smith as staff accompanist. Dr. Stephen Husarik of Fort Smith gave pre-ceremonial and post-recessional bell peal on the Donald W. Reynolds Bell Tower Carillon.