Ithaca College formally welcomed the Class of 2018 through the college’s Convocation ceremony on the morning of Aug. 25 in the Glazer Arena of the Athletics and Events Center. The ceremony highlighted the college as a community and focused on telling students to embrace the changing environment.
The ceremony, which included speeches and presentations from the college’s top administrators, was followed by a community picnic held in the Campus Center quad.
Convocation began with the traditional performance of Ludwig Maurer’s “Maestoso alls marcia” by the Ithaca Brass Ensemble, accompanying the processional of faculty and student speakers.
After the processional, faculty, students and alumni sang the national anthem and listened to Jewish Chaplain Igor Khokhlov define the college as a place of acceptance for all who are on campus.
“Today, for many first-year students, Ithaca College becomes ‘home,’” he said. “I want to encourage all of you, but especially first-year students, to find yourself a community at Ithaca College.”
Following Khokhlov’s invocation, Linda Petrosino, interim provost and vice president for educational affairs, addressed the class in a welcome speech highlighting what she said are the main elements to the first year of a college education.
Petrosino said the there are three key educational principles central to the first-year experience. These principles are that people learn best by doing, students are challenged when they move outside their comfort zones and students should use their education to promote social justice and active citizenship.
At the end of her speech, she introduced the video “Ithaca in Action,” showing three academic enrichment examples that emphasize the learning opportunities the college provides, including the Sustainability Case Competition, the London Program, and a social justice project.
After the video presentation, Petrosino honored the recipients of the Faculty Excellence Award. Petrosino said the award recognizes five members who display their commitment to the college’s educational mission: teaching, scholarship and service.
This year’s winners included Srijana Bajracharya, professor of health promotion and physical education; David Brown, associate professor of mathematics; Ali Erkan, associate professor of computer science; Michael Haaf, professor of chemistry; and Annette Levine, associate professor of modern languages and literatures.
Thomas Grape ’80, chair of the Ithaca College Board of Trustees, then succeeded the award ceremony with salutations. He said even though the college experience will differ among each student, there will be experiences that are universal to making college memorable.
“You’re individual experiences will all be very different,” Grape said. “It is true for each and every one of you, but a few things will be the same for almost every one of you who are here today.”
At the end of his speech, Grape introduced senior Crystal Kayiza,president of the Student Government Association. She said students should be inspired to take risks, accept challenges and embrace change.
“It’s not always about being right. It’s not always about being first. It’s not always about knowing what’s next; but whatever season you’re in, it’s about moving forward,” Kayiza said. “It’s about leaning into the change that you’re experiencing and knowing that it’s your victories and not your mistakes that define you.”
Afterward, Petrosino introduced President Tom Rochon, who said the college has an abundance of resources that allow for students to connect with each other and the community through the faculty, alumni and supporters of the college.
“In any given semester, you can choose from hundreds of challenging projects, extracurricular organizations and internships related to your field of study,” Rochon said. “Be the architects of your own lives, and begin laying the foundation for a great job and a great life in the future.”
Rochon also said members of the Class of 2018 should act as a family throughout their time at college.
“When you see someone else’s vulnerability, when you see a peer making a mistake, that is the moment when you must step up and look out for each other,” he said.
Upon the conclusion of his speech, Janet Galvan, professor of music performance, taught the audience the lyrics to “Ithaca Forever,” the college’s alma mater, because, Rochon said the song is what brings the Ithaca community together.
The ceremony ended with Petrosino’s closing remarks, in which she said students should make the most of their time at the college by exploring outside their comfort zones.
“Find new passions, even while you pursue the old ones,” Petrosino said. “Take full advantage of the wide range of educational opportunities. Challenge yourself. Go outside your comfort zone. Experience all that IC offers you, and be sure to know Ithaca beyond the campus boundaries.”