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Convocation Keynote Speaker Encourages Class of 2023 To Step Out of Their Comfort Zones

Curry College faculty and staff line the walkway to the Student Center, applauding members of the Class of 2023
August 27, 2019


Academics | Alumni Outcomes | Faculty Accomplishments | Student Success

Embrace feeling uncomfortable. That is when you’ll learn the most about yourself and the world around you.

This was the message to the incoming class of 2023 by keynote speaker and alumna Alicia Viscomi Williams ’09 Monday during the 2019 New Student Academic Convocation, officially welcoming new students to the Curry College community.

Watch: Alicia Williams '09 delivers the Convocation keynote

“Every amazing thing that has ever happened in my life has been when I've pushed myself out of my comfort zone,” Williams told the gathered crowd of students, staff, and faculty. “When we get up from the table filled with people that look, talk, and share the same viewpoints, and walk over to the table that is surrounded by different cultures, languages, physical appearances, and viewpoints -- that is where real growth comes from.”

Williams recalled that she graduated during the Great Recession in 2008, entering one of the worst job markets in a half century. She said she had a choice to make: feel sorry for herself or get outside of her comfort zone and “design my own life around what I wanted -- not what society told me I deserved.”

So the Communication major and member of the Honors Scholar Program founded her own company at the age of 22. Against all odds, her 11-year-old agency, Aliste Marketing, is thriving as Willams and her team continue to deliver out-of-the-box marketing strategy and execution.

Williams attributes her success to the lessons she learned throughout her career at Curry. She admits that as a first-year student, she had no idea what she wanted to accomplish in her life.

“But I realize that who I was at 18 is not who I am now,” she said. “And everything that happened to me in those four years while at Curry helped define who I am today.”

In accordance with College tradition, faculty and staff lined the walkway to the Student Center, applauding members of the Class of 2023 as they crossed Westhaver Park and processed into the ceremony, marking the official opening of the academic year.

Photo Gallery: The 2019 New Student Academic Convocation

Watch the full student procession

After a welcome from Curry College President Kenneth K. Quigley, Jr. and the singing of the National Anthem by Yamilhee Saint-Val ’21, Connor Clougherty ’20 and Professor Joanne Ruane Seltzer delivered the student and faculty addresses, sharing their experiences and advice with the incoming first-year students.

Echoing Williams’ call to seize every experience possible, Clougherty called on his fellow students to “look up from your phone, look around, talk to people, and interact.” He promised his peers that they’d still have time for naps and video games, but they should be ready each morning to “wake up and attack the day.” 

Watch: Connor Clougherty delivers student Convocation address

Seltzer, a professor of education, posed a challenge to the incoming class of 2023: “Dare to flourish. Dare to think. And dare to engage with the community around you.”

“This is your moment. Dare to embrace it,” she said.

Watch: Dr. Joanne Seltzer delivers faculty Convocation address

Curry College Provost Dr. David Szczerbacki officially matriculated the members of the Class of 2023, who then stood to recite the Curry Class Oath, led by Jillian Recko ’20, Student Representative of the Alexander Graham Bell Honor Society. Devon Richards represented the Class of 2023 as Flag Bearer in the recessional.