Clemente Jaquez was born in Mexico before immigrating to the small town of Garden City, Kansas when he was 11 years old. The 2008 alum and Rhodes Scholar finalist was the first one in his family to attend college.
On Sunday afternoon, he found himself back in Manhattan to address a crowd of hundreds in Bramlage Coliseum for the New Student Convocation. Jaquez said he urged new students to take advantage of their time at K-State.
“It matters where you came from, but most of all, it matters that you are here today,” Jaquez said. “Through opportunities here at K-State, and now as an architectural designer in Texas, I have traveled the world…I have designed places and buildings that add value to the quality of life of the people of those places.”
Jaquez was one of many speakers who addressed the new students. Interim President Gen. Richard Myers was on hand to offer his advice as well.
“What is that mission that you have for yourself?” Myers said. “What’s your plan to achieve that mission while you’re here for the next few years. You’ve got to have a plan. It’s got to be realistic. It’s got to be clear. This is all about you today and it’s all about getting started on that plan.”
Myers said new students try new things and ideas during their time at the university.
“What I recommend is that you get out of your comfort zone, that you explore all the special things that you’re curious about and maybe you’ll find another path forward for you that was different than the one you came in this hall with.”
April Mason, provost and senior vice president, briefly hit on the topic of construction.
“Kansas State is rapidly developing and advancing, which you can see as you and perhaps your family attempted to navigate our campus this weekend,” Mason said. “We have a lot of construction going on and I’ll make a global apology for any detours, delays or problems that you might have had. We call it progress.”
Kourtney Bettinger, 2006 alum and pediatrician, said an experience at K-State fueled her drive to improve global health.
“I participated in a K-State service learning project that introduced me to a different culture, facilitated relationships that I still cherish today and exposed me to poverty, especially the effects of poverty on children,” Bettinger said. “I reflected on my experience and dreamed of change in my community and in my world.”
Bettinger said she just finished her residency and serve in Wyandotte County where she can assist children living in poverty.
The convocation was followed by a pep rally and picnic at the Bill Snyder Family Stadium.