It was a night for the record books as Montana State University ushered in what will likely be its largest freshman class to date. Over 2,000 students attended the Convocation, which took place in the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse.
Shiza Sahid delivered the keynote speech for MSU’s eighth Freshman Convocation. Shahid is a 25-year-old native of Pakistan and graduated from Stanford in 2011. She is the CEO and co-founder of the Malala Fund.
In her speech, Shahid explained how she met a young girl named Malala in 2009 when she hosted a summer camp for 30 girls in Pakistan, working to empower them and giving them the courage to stand up for their right to an education. In 2012, Malala was shot in the head by the Taliban in her town after being an outspoken defender of education rights for women.
After the incident, Shahid flew to be with Malala and her family in England, “It was a miracle Malala suffered no brain damage,” Shahid said. “I could have done nothing,” she told students in her speech, “But instead I abandoned my career to help Malala fight for girls’ rights.”
Shahid shared “three intentions”to inspire students to appreciate “the values of not only your education, but your lives as well.” Shahid first talked of growth and discovery stating, “I had to look beyond myself to do the things that I knew could leave an impact.” Shahid also spoke of power: “There are no superheroes, just us.” The third intention was passion. She spoke for herself and Malala stating how important it is to “be bold.”
MSU freshman nursing student Megan Crossland thought Convocation was like nothing she had seen before. “Coming from a small town in Montana, it was great to hear from someone who has impacted the entire world, and it was a really cool way to welcome us to MSU,” she said.
ASMSU Student Body President Destini French urged freshmen to “come together and enjoy your time at MSU.” This is expected to be MSU’s largest class with more than 2,500 freshmen.
Before Shahid’s speech freshmen heard remarks from many key campus and Montana educational leaders including newly inaugurated Montana Lt. Governor Angela McLean, Commissioner for Higher Education Clayton Christian and MSU President Waded Cruzado. Lt. Governor McLean was quick to speak out about women in leadership roles much like that of Shahid. She remarked that in Montana, “Women in leadership must no longer be the exception, but the expectation.”