Already Dickinsonians

Convocation 2015

A view of the 2015 Convocation ceremony from inside Old West. Photo by Carl Socolow '77.

The class of 2019 wraps up a week of pre-orientation and orientation activities signing in during Convocation

by Lauren Davidson; videos by Joe O'Neill

They know why they're here. The journey was different for each of them, but they made it. Seven hundred and thirty-three members of the class of 2019 from 31 states, plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, and 27 foreign countries.  And while it might seem unnecessary to ask them why they are here, as part of Orientation, Associate Professor of Philosophy Chauncey Maher did just that.

“You’ll hear people say college is a waste of time, too expensive—liberal-arts college in particular,” he challenged the full house in the Anita Tuvin Schlechter auditorium on Thursday. “I’m trying to provoke you to think about these things more reflectively. To have arguments against these points. To make a case for college.”

The responses reverberated off the walls, as members of the class called out their reasons for being at college, more specifically at Dickinson—to learn, to grow, to experience new things, to get a degree, to get the best job—and many left feeling a sense of optimism for the four years ahead.

Already making a name for themselves as the largest class in the college’s history, there are high expectations for this class to make their mark. Among them are 13 high-school student-body presidents, 12 senior class presidents, 23 newspaper editors, 12 published authors, 225 team captains in 23 different sports, 42 Model U.N. participants, five Eagle Scout Award recipients, two Girl Scout Gold Award recipients and 493 volunteers with community service experience under their belts. And the list goes on.

A Week of Firsts

Gathering for the first time as a class in ATS on Wednesday, the newest Dickinsonians were celebrating yet again, this time President Nancy Roseman and Vice President of Student Life Joyce Bylander, and the energy level was high there as well as they kicked off Orientation. They headed to Morgan Field to meet up with their First-Year Interest Groups (FIGs) and First-Year Mentors and enjoyed a BBQ followed by root beer floats and Italian ice.

On Thursday, they got their first taste of academics at Dickinson in their First-Year Seminar, which is taught by the professor who will be their academic advisor, and they met with their college deans. On Friday, they headed out into the community for their first service experience and let their competitive sides show during FIG Trivia or the FIG Amazing Race.

It all led up to Sunday, as the entire Dickinson community—new students, returning students, faculty and administrators—gathered in front of Old West for the Convocation and sign-in ceremony. 

Newest Dickinsonians

“Each one of you brings a set of unique talents and experiences to Dickinson, and now is the time to hone and expand them as an active participant in this dynamic community,” said Stefanie Niles, vice president for enrollment, marketing & communications, who kicked off the ceremony. “You chose this place because you felt a connection to its history, recognized the exceptional benefits of a globally focused, liberal-arts education, and understood that the next four years here will mold your future personal and professional lives. And even though you are new to Dickinson, you are—already—a Dickinsonian.”

Up next was Provost and Dean of the College Neil Weissman, who recognized new faculty and administrators as well as the 2015 Ganoe Award winner, Associate Professor of Music Amy Wlodarski, and the highest-ranking current students—dubbed the junior and senior sophister—Jonathan Baughman ’17 and Tucker Mitchell ’16. The members of Phi Beta Kappa stood to be recognized, the Shuman Prizes for outstanding contributions to the college community were awarded to Natalie Ferris ’18 and Steven Fitzpatrick ’18, and the Howard Lane Rubendall Senior Scholarship was presented to Jaime Phillips ’16 for her commitment to leadership and scholarship.

Student Senate President Ian Hower ’16 welcomed the newest Dickinsonians with words of wisdom: “Now is the time to engage and discover what Dickinson will be for you. Make Dickinson your own place by making it even better than it is today.”

President Nancy Roseman echoed the previous sentiments, adding, “Dickinson is about to change your life. I envy you. Go for it. Grab the biggest handful of Dickinson you can.”

The ceremony concluded with each member of the class of 2019, these newest Dickinsonians ready to make their mark on this institution, made their official mark in the history books by adding their signatures to the college ledgers.

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Published August 30, 2015