Convocation Explores ‘Vocation’ Theme

returning students, faculty and staff form a tunnel of welcome to greet new members of the EMU campus community
Returning students, faculty and staff form a “tunnel of welcome” to greet new members of the EMU campus community as they pass by.
Photo by Jim Bishop

“In the words of Sybil Marshall, ‘Education must have an end in view, for it is not an end in itself.’ It is not a job that is the end; it is to find your ‘voice,’ that which ignites passion within you.'”

EMU President Loren Swartzendruber gave this challenge in developing the theme, “A Vocation of Preparation,” in a convocation service held Aug. 30 in Lehman Auditorium, the opening day of fall semester.

Swartzendruber cited Quaker educator/writer Parker Palmer in his book, “Let Your Life Speak,” that the word “vocation” is rooted in the Latin word for “voice.”

“My vocation, your vocation, is not a goal to pursue, nor is it a job. It is, instead, your calling,” the president told the assembly.

“If Jesus needed time, approximately 30 years, to prepare for his vocation, surely a few years of preparation for each of us isn’t a waste of time,” the president said.

Finding Voice, Calling

“Finding your voice, your calling, takes time, energy and discipline, the president asserted. “No one has invented a drive-through McVoice, a place where you drive up to the first window, look over a catalog list of courses, place your order, drive up to the second window, pay the bill and find your voice, your calling.

“There are, of course, shortcuts available,” Swartzendruber said, noting that he found a website called that grants degrees in just five days for $199.

“Not only are there inappropriate shortcuts, but we have to acknowledge that there are many productive, happy folks in our world who have never been to college. And it doesn