A bright future
Photos by Kathy F. Atkinson, Evan Krape and Maria Errico August 30, 2022
New students welcomed to campus in symbolic Twilight Induction Ceremony
A little wind couldn’t blow out the spirit of the University of Delaware’s Class of 2026.
On Monday, Aug. 29, Blue Hens gathered on The Green for the University’s Twilight Induction Ceremony, a ritual that welcomes to campus all new students and marks the official start of their time as UD students.
Despite the breeze, UD’s newest students — making up the largest class in UD history — shone brightly.
“To me, being a Blue Hen means rising to whatever challenges you face and not only overcoming them but becoming stronger and more resilient because of the experience,” UD President Dennis Assanis said. “You’ve already accomplished this in so many ways. The list of challenges you’ve faced over the past few years is incredible … And yet, here you are, ready to embark on what I hope will be one of the most exciting and rewarding chapters of your lives.”
UD Provost Laura Carlson encouraged the first-year students to think about three facts that define themselves. Carlson, who is a new Blue Hen herself, said that when meeting new people, it’s important for students to think about how they want to present themselves, because sharing those things can help them connect and grow as a community. Carlson shared that she likes to challenge herself, including by running marathons and even an Ironman race — which consists of a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile run.
“All of these efforts and achievements were made possible because I had training buddies,” Carlson said. “In short, having those connections for support in life matters, and some of those connections will be starting for you as soon as this evening as the launch of your lifelong journey as a Blue Hen.”
Tori Glover, UD’s Student Government Association president and a student in the Honors College, encouraged the new Blue Hens to make the most of their four years at UD by taking advantage of all that the University has to offer.
“I don't need to challenge you to become the best person you can be or say that the University of Delaware is the best place in the world,” Glover said. “You wouldn't be here if you didn't want to be the best version of yourself or believe that UD is truly a magical place. Rather, I want to encourage you to take advantage of the opportunities that this institution provides.”
Anna Servidio, a first-year Honors College student from Connecticut majoring in environmental science, plans to make the most of her college career by getting involved on campus. Indeed, she said she signed up for many different Registered Student Organizations at the Involvement Fair on Monday, Aug. 29, and that she was excited to officially kick off her time at UD at the Induction Ceremony.
“It’s like a rite of passage to our first year,” Servidio said. “It’s one of the only times we’ll all be together. I think it’ll help us create a bond as a class together and just realize how special and cool it is that we're all here at UD.”
José-Luis Riera, UD’s vice president for student life, said that students have already experienced so much in their first few days on campus, including questions of how they'll spend their time here, where their journeys will lead, and how they will contribute to their UD legacies.
“They're important topics, and they can be overwhelming,” Riera said. “But know, as you've already heard tonight, you are not alone. You have joined a community that cares about you in your entirety — your multiple identities, your academic success, your wellbeing and your social transition to college. Much of your UD experience is what you make of it, and we are here to assist you in getting as much out of it as possible.”
Thuron Archie, a first-year student from Middletown, Delaware, said that starting college can be intimidating because it can feel like you’re alone, but the Induction Ceremony helped to create a sense of belonging.
“Coming to college is a big jump, but having all the freshmen out here together shows that everyone's here together,” he said. “It makes us all feel more comfortable and helps us connect with each other.”
The next time the Class of 2026 will gather in such large numbers will be at Commencement in just under four years. The time between then and now could go by quickly, so Tyler Gabor, a first-year student from New Castle, Delaware, plans to savor the moment.
“Not everybody gets the opportunity to go to college — I'm the first one in my family to go to college,” he said. “Being the first one in your family is a big deal, so I might as well savor the moment instead of rushing through.”