September 2, 1997
Volume 50, No. 2
Just about every one of Emory College's 1,200 incoming freshmen packed into Glenn Auditorium Aug. 26 to receive their official welcome from President Bill Chace and the rest of the college faculty during Opening Convocation.
"You are about to step on an escalator of learning that will transport you to levels of wisdom that you cannot yet understand," Chace said. "At Emory, you will be presented with the opportunity to do a thousand things for the first time. You should prepare yourself to be wonderfully surprised-get ready to be unready."
Students also heard from Chaplain Susan Henry-Crowe, Emory College Dean Steven Sanderson, Campus Life Dean Frances Lucas-Tauchar and Jonathan Freimann, president of the Student Government Association.
There was a buzz of excitement outside as the students arrived, many of them only a week removed from leaving home for the first time. "This is so much fun," said Melissa Trifiletti, assistant director of student activities and coordinator of student orientation. "This is my favorite time of the year."
Moments later, with the church's pews packed and the aisles lined with bright orange-shirted orientation leaders, bagpiper Henry Frantz led a procession of faculty clad in full academic regalia to the front of the auditorium. After they found their seats, the chaplain, deans, vice presidents and Chancellor Billy Frye followed, ending with Chace, who then called the gathering to order.
"On behalf of all of these," Chace said after introducing his colleagues to the students, "I welcome you to four years of academic challenge."
Henry-Crowe invoked the ceremony by calling for a moment of silence for three incoming Emory freshmen who died this summer: Anne Kumpuris from Little Rock, Ark.; Elizabeth Herman from Sarasota, Fla.; and Daniel Alper from New York.
Sanderson then took the podium and addressed two issues: global environmental change and diversity. "I want to give a special welcome to you as the first class of the new millenium," he said. "Your world is a radically new one but no less daunting. Your generation inherits a world that has been transformed by human hands in ways that imperil both present and future. The knowledge you gain here is the tool you can use to change that future.
"Not only do you need to recognize difference in people, you need to embrace it," Sanderson said. "The open university can tolerate everything except a closed mind and heart."
With all the optimistic words of advice for Emory's newest students, there were also quite a few lighthearted moments. Lucas-Tauchar thanked the orientation leaders for a job well done and said to the freshmen, "I hope in the next few days you will have concluded that this is one of the best universities in country. We've hit the Top 10 in both rankings," referring to Emory's ranking both as the ninth-best university in the country by U.S. News & World Report and its No. 7 "party school" ranking by the Princeton Review.
Speaking of the wealth of opportunities awaiting the class of 2001, Chace said, "You are here from this day forward at Emory to build a self. [We] will help you, but it is your project, and it will last for the rest of your life."
Students seemed impressed with the event. "It was fun," said Kendra Robins, a freshman from Virginia Beach, Va. "I thought it would be a lot drier than it was."
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