*GREENSBORO, N.C — Bennett College new Interim President Phyllis Worthy Dawkins officially welcomed 134 new freshwomen to the campus Thursday morning in the formal opening ceremony of the academic year called Convocatum Est.
During the Convocatum, she spoke about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, which is her theme for the upcoming year.
“Our goal is to ensure that we have an inclusive environment where we actively, intentionally engage with the diverse segments of our community to increase awareness, knowledge and understanding of the complex ways individuals interact,” said Dawkins. “ Through this effort, all of the members of our community will have equal access to what Bennett has to offer.”
Dawkins acknowledged the changes that have taken place at Bennett College and told faculty, staff and students that she wants to continue the progressive activities of the campus.
“As your new interim president, I assure you, that we will continue to grow and thrive,” Dawkins said. “There is no challenge too difficult for us to master and no barriers to the greatness we will achieve. Let’s walk this path of success together; paving the way for generations to come to have the unique experience of being a Bennett Belle.”
During the ceremony, Dawkins introduced several newly appointed administrators to the campus including Steve Willis, as the interim provost and vice president for academic affairs. Prior to Willis’ appointment as Interim Provost and Vice-President for Academic Affairs at Bennett College, he served as dean of the Division of Humanities, Business, and Professional Studies. Earlier, he served as Division Director of Humanities from 2011-2014, and as Department Chair of Visual and Performing Arts. WIllis joined the faculty at Bennett in 2003, and he became a tenured Associate Professor of Theatre and Speech in 2010.
At the ceremony Thursday, students attending the Early Middle College were recognized. The high school has 60 new students and a total of 101 on its roster for fall 2016.