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University welcomes freshmen

More than 4,000 new students march to Matriculation

The Student Union members led the Class of 2010 to Matriculation. Photo by Kalman Zabarsky

Nearly 4,000 Boston University freshmen left their dormitories at 8:30 yesterday morning to walk the entire length of the Charles River Campus to the Track and Tennis Center, where they were greeted by a cheering gauntlet of red-shirted student volunteers. University Marshall Ted DeWinter, wearing a black gown with a scarlet hood and carrying the sterling silver mace affixed with the University seals, led the army of students, who wore all manner of attire—from dresses to jeans and flip flops.

So began Boston University’s 2006 Matriculation, the official welcome to new freshmen. Despite the early hour, there was excited chatter and plenty of sleepy smiles among the crowd—and why not—this group had emerged from a record-breaking 31,851 applicants to become BU’s class of 2010. As they filed inside, a brass band played peppy favorites like “Twist and Shout” and “Gimme Some Lovin’,” a song with the appropriately welcoming lyric: “so glad you made it.”

The ceremony began with a faculty procession, and then, one by one, the morning’s speakers rose to welcome and congratulate the newest members of the BU community. Student Union President Brooke Feldman (SED’08) compared the first days of college with the “exhilarating combination of nervousness and excitement” of the first days of grade school, and advised the assembled to get involved on campus and to “find your passion and share it.”

Poet and Emma Ann MacLachlan Metcalf Professor of the Humanities, Rosanna Warren, took a different tack by deliberately not offering any advice. “You wouldn’t listen to it if I gave it,” she quipped. Instead, Warren told stories, including the life story of anthropologist Loren Eiseley, who went from train-hopping, Depression-era hobo to a PhD.

“I welcome you, not with advice, but with a challenge,” Warren concluded. “Keep your wildness, and honor the hardest questions it can teach you.”

Ronald Garriques (ENG’86), president of mobile devices for Motorola, Inc, and president of the BU alumni council, urged the freshmen to take a wide variety of courses and to explore Boston, which he deemed, “the best city in the world.”

Boston University President Robert Brown promised the entering students that the next four years would be one of the most intense and rewarding phases of their lives. He then borrowed a phrase from the classic comic book character, Pogo Possum, to sum up what BU offered the class of 2010: Insurmountable opportunities.

“The choices lay before you,” said Brown, noting Boston’s cultural offerings, campus sporting events, and BU’s more than 250 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. “It is your opportunity to make the most of them."

He also encouraged the new students to cultivate a global perspective, something particularly appropriate for this entering class, seven percent of whom hail from one of 51 different foreign countries.

Many in the crowd seemed to have already taken Brown’s advice. Aaron Maybury (CAS’10) recently returned from a summer’s journey to Mexico where he visited Mayan ruins and learned to scuba dive. And Susan Santacruz (CGS’10), whose family is from Colombia and now lives in Miami, spent the summer studying French in Belgium. 

The ceremony ended with BU’s deans presenting the class of 2010 to the president, amid raucous applause. “I formally admit you to student status,” Brown told them all. 

Formalities aside, though, Brown had already voiced the true spirit of Matriculation towards the close of his address. “You have accomplished much in a very, very short time,” he told the freshmen.  “But there is much more to do.”