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Jes Therkelsen Speaks in front of a crowd of a couple thousand new students. Therkelsen was elected to be the keynote speaker at the New Student Convocation at the Save Mart Center on Aug. 21, 2017. (Daniel Avalos/ The Collegian)

Convocation ‘17: Professor Jes Therkelsen wants Fresno State students to ‘have the courage to be curious’

Fresno State welcomed over 6,000 incoming undergraduate and graduate students to the university on Monday at the New Student Convocation in the Save Mart Center.

Fresno State President Dr. Joseph Castro along with university administrators were introduced to the crowd along with Associated Students, Inc. President Blake Zante.

The ceremony included pep routines and songs performed by the Bulldog Marching Band, the Fresno State Spirit Team and Fresno State Dance Team.

Professor Jes Therkelsen from the department of media, communications and journalism was this year’s keynote speaker.

His speech stressed the importance of curiosity driving students in their college careers and beyond.

“I wish you the courage to be curious and to not be afraid of curiosity,” Therkelsen said. “It takes courage to be curious just as it took courage for you to come to Fresno State.”

Therkelsen said curiosity is related with youth and is lost quickly as people are taught through movies, stories and tradition that “curiosity kills the cat.”

“Curiosity is like a muscle, the more you use it, the better you get at it, but if you don’t, you lose it,” Therkelsen said. “Learn how to sustain it, learn how to recognize it and have the courage to follow it.”

Castro commented on the importance of students remaining curious, and for the university to continually encourage it.

“I think that’s our mantra of being bold,” Castro said. “For students to think outside of their usual ways of approaching issues. That’s how we learn and that’s how we grow.”

“Be Bold” has been a part of Castro’s mantra since the start of his presidency in 2013. He expressed his admiration of the student body and encouraged sudents to develop even more.

“One of the things that really impresses me about our students is they have such a strong work ethic,” the fifth-year president said. “When I talk to our employers they tell me that our students are hard-working, and I love that. In addition to that, I want our students to be honest, to have integrity, to have compassion and empathy for others. To embrace people from all different backgrounds and cultures. I think that’s part of developing as leaders.”

Following the ceremony, students were invited to the Bulldog Bash inside the Student Recreation Center where they participated in an “American Ninja Warrior” style obstacle course, took photos in a photo booth and got information from organizations on or around campus.