Vowell headshot

Sarah Vowell.

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Montana State University will host its 2020 Convocation on Thursday, Aug. 27, with a number of adaptations in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For the first time the annual event, which this year will feature bestselling author, social commentator and MSU graduate Sarah Vowell, will be held in Bobcat Stadium. Organizers said the move away from the traditional venue at the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse will allow the members of the incoming first-year class to be socially distanced during the event.

David Singel, senior vice provost and chair of the MSU convocation committee, said this year’s event will be closed to the public. However, it will be livestreamed and accessible to all on the MSU convocation website: https://www.montana.edu/convocation/.

“The university is taking all possible precautions to protect the students while conserving the important experience of the university’s annual formal academic welcome of the incoming class,” he said.

MSU President Waded Cruzado encourages all to listen online to Vowell’s lecture, which will be both entertaining and enlightening. A nationally recognized author of seven nonfiction books, Vowell is a social commentator, a frequent guest on late-night television and the voice of Violet in both “Incredibles” films. She graduated from MSU in 1993 with a degree in modern languages and literatures. Vowell will speak about her book “Lafayette in the Somewhat United States,” which is MSU’s 2020 summer read.

“In a time of challenges and contention, Sarah recounts stories from America’s early history with wit and reminds us of how great leaders accomplish extraordinary things by encouraging others to act,” Cruzado said.

Following her remarks, Vowell will answer pre-submitted questions from the public. Those interested in submitting a question may access the questionnaire here. Convocation organizers will contact those whose questions are selected for more information.

MSU Convocation is the formal welcome of the incoming class, where the university focuses attention on the start of the academic, intellectual and personal journey of first-year students. Convocation demonstrates the support of the university and community to help students reach the goal of becoming the graduating class of 2024. Vowell’s lecture will be part of MSU’s 15th convocation.

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