Eyes on 2020



video by Joe O'Neill

Convocation welcomes class of 2020

Dickinson welcomed the class of 2020 and kicked off the academic year on Sunday, Aug. 28, with a Convocation ceremony that encouraged incoming students to embrace difference while honoring history.

“We hope that you encounter people, practices and ideas very different from your own,” said Neil B. Weissman, interim president, during his welcome address. “The encounter with the new and different may be at times uncomfortable, but it is an inherent and valuable dimension of real learning.”

Student Senate President Savanna Riley ’17 reminded incoming students that this “real learning” will be both literally and figuratively built on a rich 233-year history. Using her recent experience building a pair of new tables for Student Senate as a metaphor for the way current achievements rest on the foundations of the past, Riley urged members of the class of 2020 to both recognize and contribute to the long history that has paved the way for the experience that lies ahead of them

“Please take the 233 years of tables that have come before us—the many legs that we are now standing on—and add to this conglomeration of triumphs, failures, aspirations and global stewardship,” Riley said.

Prior to the welcome addresses, which also included a call to engage the local community from Carlisle Mayor Tim Scott, Stefanie D. Niles, vice president for enrollment, marketing & communications, officially presented the class of 2020 to the Dickinson community. Among the newest Dickinsonians, she noted, are the following:

  • 21 high school student body presidents
  • nine senior class presidents
  • 17 yearbook editors
  • 13 newspaper editors
  • 10 literary magazine editors
  • three published authors, one of whom has published nine books
  • 259 athletic team captains
  • 51 Model UN participants
  • 11 Boy Scout Eagle Award recipients
  • and four Girl Scout Gold Award recipients.

The incoming class, Niles added, also includes:

  • an amateur ornithologist
  • a film and television actress
  • a student who biked 3,000 continuous miles across the U.S. in six weeks
  • an individual who started his own clothing company
  • the co-founder of a bike polo team
  • a two-time grand national medalist in competitive jump-roping
  • one of the founders of the first girls’ flag football team in the country
  • Miss Maryland’s “Outstanding Teen”
  • a singer who has performed a cappella at a Baltimore Oriole’s game and Carnegie Hall
  • the No. 1 Rubik’s Cube completer in Washington, D.C.
  • and the holder of the Guinness world’s record for the number of socks worn on one foot—102.

The Convocation ceremony also included the presentation of several college awards to current students:

  • The senior and junior Sophister Awards, presented to the students with the highest GPAs in those classes, went to Christian Sweger ’18 and Jonathan Baughman ’17.
  • The George Shuman Jr. and Mary Louise D’olier Shuman Prizes, given each year to a sophomore man and woman for academic performance and contributions to the college and community, were presented to John Adeniran ’19 and Yanqing “Ching” Zhao ’19.
  • The Howard Lane Rubendall Senior Scholarship, established in 1972 by members of Omicron Delta Kappa and Wheel and Chain in honor of retiring President Howard Rubendall, was presented to Emily Vooris ’17 in recognition of her leadership and scholarship while at Dickinson.

Following the welcome addresses and awards presentations, which included recognition of 2016 Ganoe Award recipient Suman Ambwani, associate professor of psychology, the class of 2020 ascended the old stone steps of Old West to officially sign in to the college. This symbolic journey will be completed in four years during Commencement 2020, when students walk down those same steps as graduates.

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Published August 28, 2016