Matriculation: Welcome to the Class of 2015
Speakers urge students to grab opportunity
The Class of 2015 filed into Agganis Arena on Sunday afternoon wearing T-shirts, shorts, and flip-flops, as temperatures outside hovered in the high 80s.
The mood inside the arena crackled with energy as freshmen waved and grinned for the cameras and watched themselves on the huge electronic television screens suspended from the ceiling. Several students could be heard exclaiming, “Whoa!” as they took in the size of the arena and the spectacle of their entire class gathered together. The only other time the class will be together as a whole is Commencement.
Once students were seated by school or college, faculty in academic dress processed in to the arena as the BU Faculty Brass Quintet played “Homage March” from Edvard Grieg’s Sigurd Jorsalfar.
President Robert A. Brown welcomed the 4,000 members of the Class of 2015, urging them to study the past and the philosophies that have shaped the world, to distinguish between logical and illogical arguments, to become scientifically literate, to learn quantitative reasoning, and to write clearly, not in “text message English.” As he offered those last words of advice, the giant television screens showed a freshman on his cell phone, drawing laughter from the assembled crowd. The sheepish-looking student laughed as well.
Brown reminded students of the opportunity to shape their BU education over the next four years, by deciding which classes to take, which major to pursue, and which activities to become involved in.
“Many of you may have already selected, and have a vision of, your career path,” he said. “I am not saying I hope you change your decision, rather I hope the passion that you now have for your selected career path grows dramatically over the next four years.” He encouraged the Class of 2015 to remain adventurous throughout their college experience.
Brown provided a brief overview of the University’s history, from its beginnings as a small Methodist seminary in 1839 to its current status as a world-class research university. Later, citing statistics that demonstrate a correlation between binge drinking and poor academic performance, he cautioned students to act wisely and to make smart decisions.
Student Union president Howard Male (SHA’12, SMG’12) began his speech by recalling an incident that occurred during his recent study abroad trip to Australia. Walking one day on the outskirts of Sydney, he came upon two paths. Unsure which to take, he decided to risk the more overgrown path. Exploration, Male told the Çlass of 2015, is what creates opportunities to grow.
“You’re going to come across a lot of choices here at BU, just like I did when I saw the less traveled path,” he said. “The decisions you make will shape themselves into unique opportunities and will determine your Boston University experience. So make the choice to get involved, explore all the different aspects of BU.”
He encouraged students to venture off campus to explore the city of Boston. Among his suggestions: walking the Freedom Trail, visiting the Museum of Science, and strolling the Boston Common.
Faculty speaker Patricia Johnson, a College of Arts & Sciences associate dean and associate professor of classical studies, noted that the Class of 2015 has a record number of international students—16.1 percent—coming from 62 countries and speaking a minimum of 28 languages.
Johnson advised the freshmen not to stick with classes that are familiar and safe, but to “identify your interests and stretch beyond them as you change and grow.” She spoke of alumni returning to visit campus who have told her that they wished they had taken better advantage of everything BU has to offer. “The only limit is yourself,” Johnson said. “Carpe diem.”
Parents cheered loudly throughout the hour long ceremony, and towards the conclusion, Brown asked the students to turn around and cheer for their parents and others who had helped them get to this point.
“I thought President Brown gave very valuable advice to the students,” said Stephanie Edwards, mother of Leah Edwards (CAS’15), after the event. “I really thought his point that you must learn to write clearly was valuable and something that transcends everything you do in life.”
Students were also impressed. “The speakers really pushed that we should do our best,” said Andrea Young (COM’15). “I’m excited for the new year to start, but nervous.”
“I’m pumped!” chimed in Emma Moehlenhoff (COM’15).2 Comments