by Tony Moore, photos by Carl Socolow '77
With Sunday’s 2017 Convocation ceremony, Dickinson welcomed the class of 2021, and the new academic year was underway. Addressing her first incoming class as college president, Margee Ensign reminded students that Benjamin Rush founded Dickinson on what was then the western frontier of the country to prepare citizen leaders to shape the future—and more than two centuries later, that mission continues.
"You, Dickinson students, new ones and returning, must be prepared to apply your knowledge to solve problems of a complexity and at a pace that few of us can imagine," said Ensign. "You must be educated to learn from and deal cooperatively with people quite unlike yourselves, here at home and around the world. At Dickinson, our centuries old tradition has been to strive for a useful education for the common good. In this, as in 1783, Dickinson is still on the frontier."
Noting the importance of civility in the debates and discussions that shape the liberal-arts experience at Dickinson, Ensign later reminded students of Dickinson's "Community Commitment," reading a brief statement that highlighted the college's dedication to "the advancement of learning, to honor, to integrity and to mutual respect of everyone in all of our interactions."
Stefanie Niles, vice president for enrollment management, emphasized the importance of reaching out to make meaningful connections across campus.
“In your own quest to discover all that Dickinson can offer to you, there is no substitute for engaging with ... students who can share their vast array of experiences, faculty members who have witnessed your predecessors’ successes and failures and can assist you in making good choices and the staff members who are here to support you and help you to be your own best advocate,” said Niles. “Get to know your fellow classmates. Your class is exceptionally talented, diverse, multifaceted and dynamic.”
Stefanie Niles, vice president for enrollment management, addresses students.
That multifaceted class of 2021 is the college’s most diverse class ever, in several ways:
And this year’s incoming class comprises a group with eclectic accomplishments and impressive backgrounds, which Niles highlighted during her speech:
Adding to the unique makeup of the class of 2021 are:
A third of the incoming class indicated that they’ve been involved in community service, including in the following capacities:
The Convocation ceremony followed a week of Orientation and Pre-Orientation activities that helped students meet one another, bond and have some fun, all while working on service projects in the Carlisle area, with such organizations as Furry Friends, Trails and Trees, Kings Gap Environmental Center and Project SHARE.
Joyce Bylander, vice president and dean of student life, presents the Shuman Prizes to Valerie Brielle Busch '20 and Kevin Ssonko '20.
An annual tradition, the Convocation ceremony also honored the 2017 Constance & Rose Ganoe Memorial Award for Inspirational Teaching. This year it was awarded posthumously to Timothy A. Wahls, associate professor of computer science, who passed away in February after a battle with cancer. Additionally, several students received college awards during the ceremony.
Members of the class of 2021 officially sign in to the college.
Marching into their future, the class of 2021 ascended the old stone steps of Old West at the end of the ceremony and officially signed in to the college, becoming part of Dickinson’s storied history.
Published August 25, 2017