The Collegian
Sunday, June 26, 2022

Final words of advice at Arts & Sciences Convocation

The student and faculty addresses at this year's Arts and Sciences Convocation were given by two members of the University of Richmond community who are both finishing their last semester at the university.

John L. Gordon, Jr., professor of history and international studies, and Sandra Zuniga Guzman, a senior double majoring in political science and international studies, gave this year's addresses.

During his address, Gordon emphasized the importance of maintaining ethics alongside achievement. Citing a few illustrations of the university's commitment to high ethical standards, Gordon spoke about the Richmond Promise and the Honor Code.

"We are an institution committed to the highest level of ethics," Gordon said. "It is our challenge as citizens of the university to be ever vigilant about living up to this vitally important measure of excellence."

Although the university has changed dramatically during his past 46 years here, it still remains an exceptionally humane place, he said.

Gordon finished his address with words of encouragement to the audience: "I leave you with the challenge to continue to work hard, to grow wiser, to learn to see the right and wrong of things and to spread ethical contagion."

In her speech, Zuniga Guzman reflected on her liberal arts education and what her education at Richmond has meant to her. In a way, education in the liberal arts is education for liberation, she said.

A liberal arts education is one that leads small roads out into larger ones, Zuniga Guzman said. "It's an education that asks for leaders now as opposed to later."

The truth is that nobody is born fully formed, Zuniga Guzman said. It is only through self-experience and exploration of the world that we become who we are, she said.

"More than anything, I'm proud of my education because it supports my vision for the world," she said. "I hope you, too, see your education this way."

Gordon began teaching at the university in 1967. He earned a B.A. in history and mathematics at Western Kentucky University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in history at Vanderbilt University. His main areas of expertise are modern Britain, the British Empire, Canada and modern Ireland. Gordon will retire this June after 46 years at Richmond.

Zuniga Guzman, an Oldham Scholar, is the recipient of the political science department's Spencer Albright Book Award and Phi Beta Kappa's Robert E. Loving Book Award. She is the co-founder of Street Law and the Roosevelt Institute at the university and is a Youth Leadership Institute national ambassador. Zuniga Guzman hopes to pursue a career in international public service.

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Following the student and faculty addresses, awards and recognition were given to students for their outstanding achievements during their time at the university. The event also featured music performances by student musicians from the music department.

The convocation was held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, April 9 in Booker Hall. Schedules were modified for 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and noon classes to allow for attendance of the convocation.

Contact reporter Brooke Knetzger at

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