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Coming Together, Right Now

Matriculation marks the opening moment

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In the slide show above, revisit the sights and sounds of Matriculation, from a stroll along the avenue to a ceremony in the center. Photos by Edward A. Brown, Frank Curran, Vernon Doucette, and Kalman Zabarsky

A parade of parent-free freshmen trekked along Commonwealth Avenue yesterday morning, talking about everything from career goals to what they ate for breakfast.

Sleepy and sore from move-in weekend, more than 4,000 students from 71 countries marched to the Track and Tennis Center to be formally inducted into Boston University. Matriculation is one of two occasions all undergraduates are required to be in the same place at the same time — next time, hopefully, graduation.

Joel Pollack (CAS’13) is excited to begin studying about the intricacies of the brain. Natalia Lopez (SAR’13) is preparing for medical school and hopes to study abroad. Sam Tabachnik (COM’13) is a sports enthusiast who hopes to write for the Daily Free Press. Seated in front of professors and presenters arrayed in colorful academic regalia, they joined their peers, the Harry Potter generation, taking part in a scene that Warren Distinguished Professor James Collins said in his remarks was reminiscent of Hogwarts.

James Sappenfield (CAS’10) delivered the traditional undergraduate allocution.

“I remember looking ahead,” he told the freshmen, hearkening back three years, “unsure of what I was going to go through in my time at BU, unaware of the possibilities and opportunities before me, not knowing if I would find my fit.” He did, he said, but not without some exploration; “I ended up switching my major tens of times. I’m a far cry from the person I was three years ago.” He concluded with a piece of advice: “Life is here now, jump into the fray.”

“Summer is now officially over,” said Boston University President Robert A. Brown in his welcome. “You will have the opportunity to deepen your educational foundation, expand your understanding of society and the natural world, and if you wish, begin a professional education that will launch your career.”

With that, the class fanned out — onto the campus, into the city, in search of friendships, adventure, widening horizons, and a fine education. One thing everyone quickly learns: there is no platform nine and three-quarters on the Green Line.

Anna Webster can be reached at annaweb@bu.edu. Edward A. Brown can be reached at ebrown@bu.edu.

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