Adjunct Professor of Music Portia Burns sings Aretha Franklin's "Respect" at the 2018 Fall Formal Convocation in Pearce Auditorium. (Photos by AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)
Adjunct Professor of Music Portia Burns sings Aretha Franklin's "Respect" at the 2018 Fall Formal Convocation in Pearce Auditorium. (Photos by AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Professors Claudia Wilburn and Portia Burns encourage respect at fall convocation

Aug 30, 2018
Kristen Bowman
Chair and Associate Professor of Art & Design Claudia Wilburn gives a keynote speech at the 2018 Fall Formal Convocation in Pearce Auditorium. (Photos by AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)
Chair and Associate Professor of Art & Design Claudia Wilburn gives a keynote speech at the 2018 Fall Formal Convocation in Pearce Auditorium. (Photos by AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

After giving a compelling keynote address at the Fall Formal Convocation on Thursday, Aug. 30, Chair and Associate Professor of Art & Design Claudia Wilburn asked Adjunct Professor of Music Portia Burns to help her bring home her message.

“Your charge for this semester is to remember and act upon these things: Respect your education, respect your community and respect yourself,” said Wilburn, who is also the 2018 Ann Austin Johnston Award Recipient. “In my eight years at Brenau, I’ve seen students get caught up in simple situations in which communication and respect could have kept many tears from being shed.”

Wilburn quoted Plato, saying, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle,” and, later, the late Aretha Franklin, who said, “We all require and want respect. Man or woman, black or white, it’s our basic human right.”

Her remarks were apt as Brenau Student Services has adopted the theme “Be Kind” for the 2018-2019 school year. To wrap up her message, Wilburn invited Burns to the stage for a powerful rendition of Franklin’s Respect, which was met with tumultuous cheers and applause.

Fall Formal Convocation is also the time for new Brenau students to sign the Honor Code, which states:

I promise to uphold the Brenau University honor code by refraining from every form of dishonesty and cheating in university life, and will strive to create a spirit of honesty and honor. Failure to do so is considered a breach of trust toward the faculty and student body. I accept this commitment as a personal responsibility to refrain from and to report all forms of dishonesty and cheating.