4:36 p.m., Aug. 30, 2010----More than 3,400 members of the Class 0f 2014 officially began their academic careers at the University of Delaware during New Student Convocation, held Monday morning, Aug. 30, in the Bob Carpenter Center.
Provost Tom Apple welcomed the new Blue Hens and introduced the award-winning UD Chorale, which opened the program with The Star Spangled Banner. The chorale, directed by Paul Head, chairperson of the UD Department of Music, later performed Hold On, written by Moses Hogan, which featured soloist Patricia Towey, a junior music education major from Floral Park, N.Y.
In congratulating the freshman class, Apple said, “You are the best in terms of quality of any class we've ever brought to the University of Delaware.”
Remarking on his own transformational experience as a UD student who received his doctorate in physical chemistry in 1982, Apple said, “My goal as provost is to make sure you are transformed by your experiences here at UD and that you find your passion.
“You will work with dedicated faculty that does research, study abroad, perform community service and participate in many other activities that will enhance your education and transform your life,” Apple said. “I'm looking forward to watching that transformation over the next four years, and I want to wish you every success.”
UD President Patrick Harker also welcomed the Class of 2014 to the place they will be calling home for the next four years -- and hopefully beyond as they someday join the 140,000-plus alumni who live around the world.
“You're a student today, but you're a Blue Hen forever,” Harker said. “You're tied to this University and its people, and to all the virtual strangers sitting way too close to you right now.”
Harker also noted that the gold T-shirts received by each new student, courtesy of Barnes and Noble, symbolized their membership in the UD family. The shirts also bear the University's new slogan, “Dare to be first,” Harker said.
“We think it's pretty bold. This University needs bold. We need students who are bold, students who dare,” Harker said. “I hope you'll dare in the things that make this world a more innovative, more humane, more beautiful place to be.”
Also emblazoned on the shirts, Harker noted, are the six big ideas, or pillars, that support the University. Among those is the fact that UD is a Talent Magnet, a fact emphasized by the fact that the members of this class were chosen from among the 26,300 applicants seeking a UD education.
“Because you are with us now, next year I'll stand up here talking to another group of really smart, dedicated, dynamic students just like you,” Harker said. “They'll come to UD because people like you are already here. Your talent will attract theirs. “
Additional UD pillars showcased as part of “Dare to be first” are: Citizen University, Smart Money, Discovery Learning, Idea Leadership and East Coast Classic.
“We're studying and working all over the world, solving the problems that plague us as a global community,” Harker said. “So, take all these phrases on the back of your T-shirt and live them. Infuse them with your spirit, your drive and your ambitions. Show us what you'll dare to do.”
Michael Gilbert, vice president for student life, said that the New Student Convocation is designed to acquaint students with the campus as they begin their academic careers at UD.
“We want you to be comfortable on both sides of the University door. My colleagues and student leaders joining me on stage today are very excited to have you here,” Gilbert said. “We know from our own experiences that your first year at the University will be like no other, and that the friends you make during this time will be unforgettable.”
Gilbert introduced five student leaders -- Keith Abrahamson, a senior musical education, choral/general major from South Windsor, Conn.; Khalid Bilal, a senior Black American Studies and English education major from Wilmington; Shanice Griffith, a junior sociology major, with a concentration in social welfare and minors in psychology and Spanish, from Newark; Michele Ingari, a senior mass communications and French studies major with a minor in interactive media, from Kailua, Hawaii; and Grace Bennett, a senior with majors in political science and international relations, and criminal justice, from Newark.
Members of the Class of 2014 also received a welcome from the deans of each of the University's seven colleges, as well as from Deputy Provost Havidán Rodríguez, who welcomed students in the Associate in Arts program and University Studies.
The academic presentations were followed by a fast-paced introduction of the coaching staffs from UD fall, spring and winter varsity sports teams, including members of the Fightin' Blue Hens football team and Head Coach K.C. Keeler.
The UD Marching Band performed and, with the encouragement of mascots YoUDee, Air YoUDee and Baby Blue, the UD cheerleaders and the UD dance team turned, twisted, tumbled and tossed partners across the stage and into the air to conclude a spirited New Student Convocation for the Class of 2014.
Following Convocation, freshmen enjoyed a barbecue at the Delaware Field House and were encouraged to sign the Class of 2014 banner that was sponsored by the University of Delaware Alumni Association.
Article by Jerry Rhodes
Photos by Ambre Alexander and Evan Krape