President Kevorkian Speaks at First Convocation

At the beginning of each academic year, the community of Cornish College of the Arts comes together for Convocation. This year is special, as a new president, Chris Kevorkian, stepped up to the podium.

On Tuesday morning September 6, the students, faculty, and staff of Cornish College of the Arts met to celebrate Convocation 2016, the beginning of the College’s 102nd academic year. The audience of several hundred were warmed up by the Jovino Santos-Neto Jazz Trio, consisting of music professors Jovino Santos-Neto and Chuck Deardorf on piano and bass, respectively, along with Jeff Busch on drums.

Moira Scott Payne, Cornish’s provost and VP for academic affairs, would normally have welcomed the community, especially the incoming class of 2020, but she was unable to attend. In her stead, Theater Department Chair Richard E.T. White did a light-hearted turn both improvising and reading the words Scott Payne would have delivered, including her annual invitation for the students to join her for tea in her office. As White explained for those who had not had the pleasure yet, "this is a proper tea, which she will serve with china cups, chocolate biscuits, and milk." 

Two representatives of the Cornish Student Leadership Council read the College’s statement of commitment as well as Cornish's mission. All present were then invited to sign the Book of Community, which includes respect for personal dignity and freedom of expression as well as an acceptance of personal responsibility.

Following the signing of the Book of Community and short performance by the trio, Chair Brown welcomed students to the new academic year on behalf of the Board of Trustees, delivering an introduction to newcomers of the board’s role at Cornish.

President Kevorkian reminded students of the kind of things they chose Cornish for, the things that make the College special. “At Cornish you’ll actually know your department chairs, your faculty, and your provost,” said Kevorkian, extolling the virtues of the College’s small population, “and yours truly, your president.”

Kevorkian continued. “Cornish sits at the epicenter and intersection of disruptive technologies, inclusive innovation, environmental evangelism, in a city committed to equal rights for all. And to top that off, there are few places in the world, right now, more welcoming to and supportive of artists than Cornish and Seattle.”

White, still acting as stand-in for Provost Scott Payne, declared the opening of the academic year 2016/17. Santo-Neto, Deardorf, and Busch played the recessional with their typical flair.

Statement of Commitment to the Cornish Community

  • ​I will maintain respect for the dignity and integrity of each person.
  • i will safeguard the practice of free and open expression.
  • I will accept personal accountability for my decisions and actions.


The mission of Cornish College of the Arts is to provide students aspiring to become practicing artists with an educational program of the highest possible quality, in an environment that nurtures creativity and intellectual curiosity, while preparing them to contribute to society as artists, citizens, and innovators.

Cornish realizes this mission by offering baccalaureate studies in the performing and visual arts and by serving as a focal point in the community for public presentation, artistic criticism, participation and discussion of the arts.