Freshman Convocation

2015 Freshman Convocation

Thursday, September 10, 2015
6:00 p.m. - Oviatt Library Lawn.
Keynote Speaker: David Levithan 
Author of "Every Day," the Freshman Common Reading for 2015.

Freshman Convocation Program Summary and Highlights

Event purpose:  The Freshman Convocation is an annual celebration of learning which is a collaboration of Student and Academic Affairs for the first time freshman class.  It connects the concepts of in-classroom  and out-of- classroom learning by focusing on the Freshman Common Reading. The Freshman Convocation committee will first seek to have the book’s author serve as the keynote speaker. It is also intended as a formal welcome extended to the class by the President, administration and campus community.  More information on the past Convocations can be found at   http://www.csun.edu/nso/freshman-convocation

Event structure:  The New Student orientation leaders guide the freshman class on a symbolic journey that attempts to unify the class and teach them the campus symbols and rituals. The freshman class is assembled in Matador Square and led down Matador Walk to the Oviatt Library Lawn by a processional of Associate Deans, faculty and student leaders.  The campus executives and Deans await the students at the top of the Oviatt Library steps which serve as a symbolic ascent to the campus center of learning at the programs conclusion.

History:  Begun in 2007, this year will mark the seventh annual Freshman Convocation.  This program is distinguished by its past keynote speakers and by its recognition by the campus receiving the CSUN Team Award in 2008 which noted the campus-wide collaboration and involvement required to plan and to execute the event annually.

Year                               Keynote Speaker                 Freshman Common Reading

2007                       Robert F. Kennedy Jr.       The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

2008                       Barbara Ehrenreich           Nickle and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich

2009                       Steve Lopez                    The Soloist by Steve Lopez

2010                       Holly Robinson-Peete     The Curious incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon

2011                       Jeannette Walls               The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

2012                       Chitra Divakaruni              One Amazing Thing by Chitra Divakaruni

2013                       Edward Humes                  Garbology by Edward Humes

2014                       Drew Magary                     The Postmortal  by Drew Magary


Other distinguishing aspects of the program:  A successful student or alumnus is chosen to provide a brief speech of practical advice;  original march music (“March of the Matadors”) was created for the inaugural event in 2007; the souvenir program introduces the new Matadors to the campus symbols and traditions; though attendance at the Convocation is “strongly encouraged” and promoted throughout Orientation, the collaboration with University Housing and inclusion in the syllabus and assignments for the university 100 program serve as strong incentives for attendance;  the University’s Intercollegiate Athletes have also made an annual commitment to attend for their personal experience and to promote attendance at athletic events; when possible, the keynote speaker is also asked to provide an informal discussion for faculty at 4:00 pm and to sign copies of their book at the reception.

Faculty & Staff Participation Information

What is Convocation?  
This tradition convenes the freshman class to welcome them as participants in our campus community and to inspire them with excitement for learning in a formal ceremony marking the beginning of their CSUN academic journey. The first CSUN Convocation was held September 2007.

is invited? 
All campus faculty, administration, staff as well as new and continuing students are invited to the Convocation to help welcome the new freshman class and to enjoy the program. 

Where and when is it? 
The Convocation will be held on the Lawn of the OviattLibrary with the formal program beginning at 6:00 pm.  Freshman students and faculty/staff who wish to walk in with them will be asked to assemble in the Matador Square beginning at 5:30.  Other faculty, staff and students may assemble on the Sierra Quad prior to 6:00pm and take a seat as available after the freshman processional is completed.

Who is speaking?  The University President Dianne Harrison will preside at this event and will present the 2nd annual Dianne Harrison Leadership Award winner. The keynote speaker this year will be Drew Magary, author of “The Postmortal”, the freshman common reading for 2014-15. Also, Outstanding Graduting Senior Award winner 2014 Harmanpreet Panesar will be this year's student speaker.

Why a convocation for CSUN?  The Convocation offers faculty and students the opportunity to link classroom learning and out-of-classroom learning.  It provides a powerful message of encouragement for the success of each student. It gathers together the whole campus to celebrate these newest Matadors.

How long
is the program?  The formal program will end at approximately 7:15 pm with a reception to follow on the Oviatt Library Patio.  All are welcome to the reception as well.  Take this opportunity to meet the new class of Matadors!

More information:
Updated Information will continue to placed on this website as it becomes available.  Ideas for further academic integration of the program and its content can be shared with Cheryl Spector, Director, Academic First Year Experiences at cheryl.spector@csun.eduor x3932.  To learn more about the Freshman Common Reading for the upcoming year, go to http://www.csun.edu/undergraduate-studies/academic-first-year-experiences/common-read

Check out reasons to attend the Freshman Convocation here:  http://www.csun.edu/undergraduate-studies/academic-first-year-experiences/ten-reasons-attend-freshman-convocation



Past Freshman Convocations

2014 Freshman Convocation

Thursday, Sep. 4, 2014

6 p.m. - Oviatt Library lawn

Keynote Speaker -

Drew Magary 

Author of “The Postmortal ,” - the Freshman Common Reading for 2014

Video Link: 2014 Freshman Convocation

2013 Freshman Convocation

Thursday, Sep. 12, 2013

6 p.m. - Oviatt Library lawn

Keynote Speaker -

Edward Humes

Author of “Garbology,” - the Freshman Common Reading for 2013

Video: 2013 Freshman Convocation


2012 Freshman Convocation

Thursday, Sep. 6, 2012

6 p.m. - Oviatt Library lawn

Keynote Speaker -

Chitra Divakaruni

 of "One Amazing Thing," - the Freshman Common Reading for 2012

Video: 2012 Freshman Convocation


2011 Freshman Convocation

Thursday, Sep. 8, 2011

6:00pm - Oviatt Library lawn


Keynote Speaker -

Jeannette Walls

Author of "The Glass Castle" – the Freshman Common Reading for 2011-2012


2010 Freshman Convocation

Thursday, Sep. 2, 2010

6:00pm - Oviatt Library lawn


Keynote Speaker -

Holly Robinson Peete

Actress, Author, Activist & Philantropist


2009 Freshman Convocation

Thursday, Sep. 3, 2009

6 p.m. - Oviatt Library lawn

Keynote Speaker - Steve Lopez

Author of "The Soloist," the
Freshman Common Reading for 2009-2010


2008 Freshman Convocation

Thursday, Sep. 4, 2008

6 p.m. - Oviatt Library lawn

Keynote Speaker - Barbara Ehrenreich

Author of "Nickel and Dimed"

Alma Mater Music

Hail to the Matadors

By Richard Kaufman


Hail to all the Matadors

And to our school so dear.

As we move along the road of life,

let us keep from doubt or fear,

For the knowledge which we find here,

for all who urge us on.

The spirit of the red and white

Will brighten every dawn.


Where the sun is shining

And where truth leaves an open door,

to honor Strong and Courage Tall

We hail our Matador!



You may listen or download the MP3 file below:



To download the MP3 to your computer, right click on the following link, CSUN Alma Mater Music, and choose "save link as" to save to your computer.

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Freshman Common Reading

The Postmortal

CSUN's 2014-2015 Freshman Common Reading is The Postmortal: A Novel by Drew Magary. Written in the form of blog posts, The Postmortal tells the story of John Farrell beginning in the year 2019 when he decides to take the newly discovered "cure," a form of gene therapy that stops the aging process. As the cure becomes widely available, enormous social changes sweep across the globe. The book raises moral and ethical questions about overpopulation, mortality, the environment, families, birth, marriage, death, interpersonal relationships, income inequality, and the role of government in the lives of the governed.

As a new freshman, you are invited to read the book and to discuss it as part of a campus-wide community of readers. If you are enrolled in UNIV 100 for fall 2014, you will have the opportunity to read The Postmortal as part of the course. But whether you're taking UNIV 100 or not, reflecting about a book in this way places academic engagement—teaching and learning—at the very center of the community that you are about to join. The Common Reading allows us all to think, talk, and learn together across and beyond the boundaries of any single classroom.

Drew Magary (the author of The Postmortal) will be the keynote speaker on September 4, 2014, at Freshman Convocation. Read this book; talk about it with other students; and discuss it with faculty, with staff, with administrators, with friends, and even (who knows?) with your family.


For more information, contact the Office of Student Involvement and Development at (818) 677-4100. Ask to speak to someone regarding the Freshman Convocation.

Disclaimer: The New Student Orientation website contains information authorized and available at the time of publication. The content, including dates is subject to change without prior notice or obligation.