Convocation ceremony welcomes incoming class to College

By Kolade Bomodeoku, Contributing Writer ||

With over 500 first-year students in the Class of 2018, the Convocation ceremony brought forth the new class and officially welcomed the students into the College Tuesday. Speakers included Daniel Porterfield, president of the College, Dean Hammer, the John W. Wetzel professor of classics and professor of government and New College House don, and students Emilie Woods ’16 and Gabrielle Woods ’16.

This tradition serves as a formal way for the incoming class to come together and officially undergo the transition into the College.

Convocation marks the formal end to orientation and is when the vice president and dean of admission introduce the class to the provost and dean of the faculty, who accepted the class. In addition, during the College Investiture Ceremony, the dons and College House leaders welcome the members of the first-year class into their respective College Houses.

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Members of the Class of 2018 gathered in the Alumni Sports & Fitness Center Tuesday for the annual Convocation ceremony. Photo courtesy of Scott Onigman.

Hammer delivered the faculty remarks at this year’s Convocation, and was honored with the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching for 2013. He was excited to meet the new students and welcome them to life at F&M.

“I can’t wait to see all of the students in front of me, ready for a new adventure,” Hammer said prior to the ceremony.

Porterfield selects the theme for each year’s Convocation in collaboration with the faculty speaker. This year, the ceremony’s theme  was “Voices,” which explores the possibility for students to begin a journey of self-discovery and find their voices while at F&M.

“It’s important for the student to speak up with an effective voice, to  communicate what matters,” Hammer said “It’s good to have an understanding of what you stand for, not just in the classroom, but outside and in a social context.”

In addition, Porterfield selects the student speakers for the ceremony. Tuesday, Emilie spoke to the incoming class, while her sister, Gabrielle, addressed the first-years through a video presentation as she is currently studying abroad in Chile.

“I feel honored to be speaking at the ceremony, and I hope I can connect with the incoming class and get across something meaningful,” Emilie said in the week leading up to Convocation.

The speakers occasionally discuss and collaborate on their speeches, which helps to unify the theme of the event and to ensure each speech is as good as it can be.

The Office of Protocol and Events is responsible for planning the event every year, and the planning was led by Deborah Murray Martin, director of protocol and events and associate secretary of the College.

The ceremony, though it has been at the College for many decades, has transitioned over the years. Ten years ago, Convocation was moved from occurring on move-in day to happening at the end of orientation, which has made for a more formal ceremony. Three years ago, students began wearing academic robes over their clothing at Convocation ceremonies.

Convocation ceremonies happen at many colleges and universities around the nation. At F&M, Convocation is meant to serve as a parallel to the graduation ceremony.

With a very diverse class of students, the campus hopes to experience something new and gain fresh minds for campus involvement.

First-year Kolade Bomodeoku is a contributing writer. His email is kbomodeo@fandm.edu.

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