Twilight Induction Ceremony welcomes Class of 2016 to UD
4:19 p.m., Aug. 28, 2012--Members of the University of Delaware’s Class of 2016 began their academic and personal journeys as Blue Hens during the inaugural Twilight Induction Ceremony held Monday evening, Aug. 27, on the South Green.
In his welcoming remarks, UD President Patrick Harker invited the freshman class to join a community of thinkers, dreamers, innovators and trailblazers during a journey that will see fruition at Commencement Day, May 28, 2016.
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“The great thing is that you’re on this journey together, as a class, and that’s going to make many of those months and weeks and days among the most memorable of your lives,” Harker said. “You’re Blue Hens now. You’re connected to something bigger than yourself.”
Being connected to a community that values excellence, that develops potential and that works for change also include a commitment to fulfilling the mission and ideals of the University, Harker said.
“If I didn’t think a group of 3,847 smart, driven, passionate people could change this world, I wouldn’t be in this job,” Harker said. “Because, I believe the reason I’m here is to ensure that you have everything you need, the knowledge and skills, the opportunities and resources, to make the change you want to see.”
Harker also emphasized the University’s commitment to diversity and inclusion in a welcoming community that supports critical thinking and freedom of speech and thought.
“This is what strengthens a community and the relationships within it. This is what encourages civic engagement and ethical action,” Harker said. “And I say, definitively, that we cannot be the University we want to be, we cannot be a truly great University, unless everyone contributes to our greatness.”
Diversity and inclusiveness also can be achieved though the right combination of individual competitiveness complemented by collaboration with the faculty, students and staff who comprise the UD community, Harker said.
Reminding students of the proximity of the South Green site to Mentors Circle and the Wings of Thought sculpture honoring UD faculty and the University’s founder, the Rev. Francis Alison, respectively, Harker advised members of the Class of 2016 to consider what kind of legacy they will leave upon graduation.
“On the left-hand page of the sculpture’s open book are the 18th-century symbols of knowledge that guided Francis Alison and framed his learning,” Harker said. “The right-hand page of the book is left blank. That’s for your legacy, not yet written, and with everything still possible.”
Nancy Brickhouse, interim provost, congratulated the incoming class on being the most academically accomplished in UD history and urged the freshmen to pursue a wide range of interests through discovery learning.
“I hope you think of your entire experience here as a kind of discovery learning, not just academically but personally, as well,” Brickhouse said. “That is the way to a truly enriching undergraduate experience, and I wish you every success.”
Nancy Targett, dean of the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment, reminded students of the academic component of their UD experience, and to think about the finish line as they begin their UD careers.
“How you grow in large part depends on the choices you are going to make over the next four years,” Targett said. “Make good choices at UD to take full advantage of the resources at UD. We are here to help you succeed on your journey.”
Dawn Thompson, dean of students and associate vice president for student life, asked students to allow a moment of reflection and silence as they began lighting candles for the closing moments of the induction ceremony.
“I encourage you to think about how you’ll live the essential values of the community you’re entering values you’ve just heard our University leaders invoke,” Thompson said. “I encourage you to think about what being a Blue Hen means to you.”
Following welcoming remarks from leaders of several student organizations, the ceremony concluded with remarks from Ken Jones, a member of the Class of 1980 and vice president of the UD Alumni Association, which represents 154,000 UD alumni living in Delaware and around the world.
“Our hope is that you will find that being a Blue Hen is much more than the years you spend at school here,” Jones said. “It’s about the connection between your classmates and the University, so that for many years in the future you will have a strong healthy relationship with each other and the University. That’s what being a Blue Hen is all about.”
An ice cream social featuring UDairy Creamery treats followed the Candlelight Induction Ceremony.
Article by Jerry Rhodes
Photos by Kathy F. Atkinson