Averett’s Annual Senior Pinning Ceremony Recognizes University’s Senior Class

Posted on September 29th, 2021 by Matt Bell

Senior pinning, an Averett University tradition spanning nearly 30 years, was held Thursday, Sept. 23, when 144 seniors lined up to receive their pins in Pritchett Auditorium in the Violet T. Frith Fine Arts Center.

Averett President Dr. Tiffany M. Franks expressed to seniors that the pin is a reminder of the experiences they’ve had while at the University, and a symbol of gratitude for the pinner. During the ceremony, each senior is pinned by an individual they select from Averett faculty or staff. This year’s ceremony featured 62 pinners.

Franks told the seniors to start preparing now, but to understand that plans can go awry, just like the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated.

“Establish all the contacts and references you can. Start pursuing the right grad school contacts with a vengeance. We’re here to support you as you pursue these things. But I want you to do more than that. Prepare yourself mentally for an alternative, just in case. Give serious thought to what you might do if something happens to completely derail your plans. You’ve got this,” Franks said.

Averett Director of Alumni Relations Dan Hayes ’92, wielding a shovel as he spoke at the podium, compared life and its many twists and turns to a pile of dirt.

“If life was a pile of dirt, what would make up your pile? If you’re like most people, you’re hoping that your pile of dirt will include a fulfilling career, the ability to have a positive influence in your community, a happy family that does interesting things, a comfortable retirement, a decent place to live, the chance to be heard and a Tesla,” Hayes said.

Continuing, Hayes told seniors that one should not try and move their pile of dirt by themselves.

“Surrounding yourself with other people who are willing to help you shovel means that you don’t have to move the load yourself,” Hayes said.

Seniors were encouraged to begin now getting involved in the Averett Alumni Association as events are set to be held throughout the academic year, including Homecoming 2021.

Hayes also told seniors there are four ways they can get involved using their time, talent, testimony and treasure. He used the shovel to describe their degree and Averett experiences.

Hayes encouraged them to attend events, including those in the area they live.

“Many people say, I’m not going to know anyone. But you will have a shared Averett experience with all the people there, you should come because you don’t know people. Averett alumni care for each other and will take the time to help you, if you bring your shovel,” Hayes said.

He encouraged students to demonstrate their talents, share their testimonies and to give back to the University by hosting events for alumni in their area, telling seniors to share their experiences with others and to contribute to the University that provided them opportunities for growth.

Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Timothy Fulop mentioned the 2020 ceremony, which was held masked and socially distanced outdoors at Frank R. Campbell stadium, and continued by saying the ceremony this year, while inside, shows the resiliency of the University.

“Averett University, founded in 1859, never closed during the Civil War, two world wars, the Great Depression, and I should add, the flu pandemic,” Fulop said.

The pin received on Thursday, Fulop said, represents everything students have already accomplished.

With graduation in sight, seniors still have a long ways to go in reaching their goals, including a graduation checklist.

“We celebrate with you,” Fulop said.

University Chaplain Rev. Skylar Daniel offered the opening prayer before Thursday’s ceremony.

Following the ceremony, seniors were invited to the President’s house for refreshments.

To watch the senior pinning ceremony in full, click here.