Candles light the way on UD's South Green during the third annual Twilight Induction Ceremony.

'Enduring values'

Class of 2018 welcomed to campus at annual Twilight Induction Ceremony

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3:03 p.m., Aug. 26, 2014--Newly arrived members of the University of Delaware’s Class of 2018 received a rousing Blue Hen welcome during the third annual Twilight Induction Ceremony held Monday evening, Aug. 25, on the South Green.

In his welcoming remarks, UD President Patrick Harker cited the significance of the nearby Mentors’ Circle, which honors the contributions of faculty members to many generations of UD students.

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“At the center of Mentors’ Circle is a sculpture of a large open book called ‘Wings of Thought.’ It honors our first faculty member and our founder, the Rev. Francis Alison,” Harker said. “Francis Alison was committed to both scholarship and teaching, to acquiring knowledge and to sharing it.” 

Harked noted that the left-hand side of the book contains the symbols representing Alison’s intellectual interests and the ideas and objects that guided his education in the 18th century.

“Your own symbols will look a lot different — after all there’s a 300-year span between you — but your curiosity and passions will guide you, just like they guided our founder,” he said.

Students of the Class of 2018 are not only heirs to the legacy of Alison and all the men and women who have taught on the UD campus, Harker said, but are also caretakers of this legacy of learning that began in 1743.

“You’ll carry on the work that Francis Alison began and will pursue the scholarship and service that define this University,” Harker said. “You’ll live out our deeply held values, the principles that have made UD what it is today.” 

Among those enduring values, Harker said, are engagement with the world, civility and diversity.

“Scholarship means little if it does not illuminate or improve the human experience, and we value civility because we cannot learn anything until we learn to listen,” Harker said. “We value diversity — in thought and identity — because embracing the full range of human experience and expression adds depth and dimension to our understanding. We know we cannot be a truly great University unless everyone contributes to our greatness.”

Keeping the campus safe and adhering to the highest standards of academic achievement and honesty are also fundamental to UD’s mission, Harker said. 

‘Write your own legacy’

Referring again to the sculpture in Mentors’ Circle, Harker noted that the right-hand page of the book is reserved for each new generation of students at UD.

“That’s your page, where you’ll write your own legacy of scholarship and service,” Harker said. “Its where you’ll contribute to the intellectual and cultural life of this University, where you’ll dare and — in the words of our fight song — where you’ll shine.”

Harker reminded the audience that some 1,370 days will pass before the newest Blue Hens gather again as a group, for Commencement on May 26, 2018. 

“I can’t wait to see what amazing things you’ll do with the next 1,370 days,” Harker said. “I know you’re ready — I know you’re capable — because you are the University of Delaware Class of 2018. You’re Blue Hens now.”

Interests and challenges

Ben Page-Gil, president of the UD Student Government Association and a senior communications and political sciences major, urged the audience to pursue fresh interests and activities. 

“Don’t’ be afraid to do something unrelated to your major or career plans,” Page-Gil said. “Now is the time to follow your passions.”

Provost Domenico Grasso challenged those who are about to take up their studies at UD to find and share in some of the magic being done in the laboratories and classrooms across campus. 

“The magic is everywhere,” Grasso said. “If you can find that magic and dare to believe in it, you’ll have good fortune during your time here at this wonderful University.”

Lynn Okagaki, dean of the College of Education and Human Development, extended a Blue Hen welcome from the deans and faculty of UD’s seven colleges while noting that college education is a very special gift enjoyed by only one in three adults in America.

“Although each one of you is here to experience the gift of a UD education, each of your gifts is unique,” Okagaki said. “What you do with that gift, how you use it, what the gift becomes, depends on you.” 

Dawn Thompson, vice president for student life also extended a UD welcome and introduced student speakers Daniel Farmer, a sophomore in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment, and Margaret Mary Rilling, a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences.

The ceremony concluded with remarks from Ken Jones, a member of the Class of 1980 and president of the UD Alumni Association. 

“It is my honor to welcome you. Tonight you will receive a pin bearing the UD seal,” Jones said. “Your connection to UD will continue for a long after college. Wear your new pin as a symbol of UD pride.”

Student reaction

Grant Giesleler, a University studies student from Middletown, Delaware, said he thought “the ceremony was really great. I liked the comments from the president of the Student Government Association. I’m looking forward to getting my campus routine down and settling in and meeting my professors.”

Matthew Johnson, a civil engineering major, also from Middletown, said, “President Harker’s remarks made me feel like graduation isn’t really as far away as it seems. My sister graduated from UD, and I heard a lot of stories about UD, so it’s really great being able to live my story and make it my own.”

An ice cream social featuring UDairy Creamery treats and a pep rally featuring UD spirit teams and student-athletes followed the Twilight Induction Ceremony.

Article by Jerry Rhodes

Photos by Kathy F. Atkinson, Evan Krape and Doug Baker

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