Bagpiper Ray Price led a procession of Central Wyoming College faculty and President Dr. JoAnne McFarland across campus and into the Robert A. Peck Arts Center Theatre this morning for the official start of the college’s fall term. (Ernie Over photo)
(Riverton, Wyo.) – With new and returning students on hand, speakers at the annual Central Wyoming College Fall Convocation included an inspiring keynote address from Andy Stoll, a Nebraska native who traveled around the world visiting and living in 40 countries over a four-year period. Stoll told students that life is not linear, but an organic experience.
The ceremony also included the conferring of Professor Emeritus status on Princess Killibrew of Lander, who began her association with the college as an adjunct instructor nearly 20 years ago after serving as an instructor at Wyoming Indian High School at Ethete. Killibrew is only the 23rd professor in the college’s 47-year history to attain emeritus status. A two thirds-vote of the faculty is required to confer such status on a professor.
Stoll, who removed his sports jacket and talked to the students as he walked around on the main stage, suggested that if they wanted to make a change in their lives, or the world, they would have to put themselves out there. He recalled a story from his freshman high school days when he, on a lark, ran for the student council using a comic theme based on a popular beer commercial at the time. His “I love you man” posters got him elected and, in his words, “changed his life forever.”
He went on to be the student body president at the University of Iowa as he pursued his dream of film and television production. “If you do what you love, interesting things will happen to you,” he said. Stoll said to be successful and to enjoy what you do, “surround yourself with good people. You become who you surround yourself with,” he said.
A desire to see how people really lived sparked his interest in travel and, after having never left the United States before, decided to set off on an adventure. He booked a one way ticket to China, intending to come back soon, but ended up not returning to his home in Omaha until he had visited 40 countries over the span of the next four years.
Going back to his theme of life being an organic experience, Stoll said students “must be prepared to wake up in Budapest” even if they had planned to go to Paris but got on the wrong train. That was another story he told. “I could’ve arrived there angry and upset, but I discovered how beautiful Budapest could be. You have to be prepared to wake up in Budapest.”
After the formal convocation event, faculty and students adjourned to the soccer fields for an all college barbecue.