Honors convocation centers on social media


    Social networking has a global effect by impacting revolutions being fought today, keynote speaker Kimberly Dena said Thursday at the 48th annual Honors Convocation.

    Dena, a senior strategic communication and political science/international relations double major, addressed a nearly full audience of faculty and students with her speech “The U in Revolution”.

    Dena told the story of Syrian-American rapper Omar Hammami, who has used YouTube as a platform to reach viewers across the globe, and discussed how social networking has played a significant role in the protests in Tunisia and the resignation of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Facebook and Twitter have been important platforms for exchanging global information, she said.

    “People revolt, technology doesn’t,” she said.

    Senior religion major Lauren Patrick, said Dena’s speech was thought-provoking.

    “She talked a lot about social networking and how terrorist groups are using it for sinister purposes,” she said. “So I think it is important to have the technology that we have to get our issues out and use them in a positive way.”

    The TCU Jazz Ensemble opened up the ceremony as honors students, departmental senior scholars and faculty came down the aisle draped in the traditional academic regalia.

    In what was Director Curt Wilson’s last performance in Ed Landreth Auditorium before his retirement, the Jazz Ensemble entertained the audience with its rendition of the theme song from the television show “I Love Lucy.” Provost and Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs Nowell Donovan, introduced 46 inductees into the Phi Beta Kappa undergraduate honor society.

    Though not present for the ceremony, state Sen. Wendy Davis received this year’s honors alumna award, which was presented by Andrew Schoolmaster, dean of the AddRan College of Liberal Arts.

    Davis received the award because she is an outstanding example of how TCU prepares people for important career roles and civic responsibility, he said. Graduating first in her class of 792 students in 1990, Davis has been an activist for the Fort Worth community as well as the university, he said.

    “I think you might have seen a picture of Senator Davis wearing her TCU football helmet on the floor of the Senate during a little hazing of first-year senators,” he said.

    The climax of the event was the presentation of the 2011 Honors Faculty Recognition Award, which was presented to a shocked Giridhar Akkaraju, associate professor of biology. After the announcement he jokingly inquired if a mistake had been made.

    Senior film-television-digital media major and president of the honors student cabinet Jason Carley, said it was Akkaraju’s time to be honored and receive the award.

    “[Akkaraju] has distinguished himself as an outstanding resource to students at TCU since 2002,” Carley said before presenting the award. “And it is due time for him to be recognized as wonderful source of inspiration to both honors students and the TCU community as a whole.”