Campus comes alive with start of fall semester


Peter Tobia

After the usual summer lull, the Penn campus is bustling again, with refreshed faculty back from their summer break, returning students reconnecting and making new friends, and the addition of the University’s excited and wide-eyed freshmen. 

Members of the Class of 2015 arrived six days before the start of classes to get acquainted with the sprawling campus and historic city. Freshmen bonded at Move-In and New Student Orientation events, including a toga party at the Penn Museum, the non-credit preceptorial classes, a Phillies baseball game and an evening at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

On Tuesday, Sept. 6, freshmen experienced their first official University tradition— the Convocation ceremony, which is the formal welcome to Penn and marks the first time the class marches together.

The custom, usually held on College Green, was moved indoors due to the inclement weather.  

Nearly 2,500 members of the class, along with the Penn Band, processed into The Palestra, where the Penn Glee Club and Penny Loafers performed.

Penn Singers

Peter Tobia

Penn President Amy Gutmann welcomed the class and encouraged them to be open to new experiences.

“You make your journey alongside an amazing group of classmates,” President Gutmann said. “You will challenge each other to broaden your horizons, to think in new ways, and to see controversial issues from different perspectives—including on such fundamental matters as which food truck offers the best fare.” 

The ceremony was followed by a dessert reception at Wynn Commons.

The new school year brings excitement to many areas of the campus, with the nearly complete renovations to Locust Walk, the redesign of McClelland Hall with a new dining area, the opening of the Law School’s new wing, Golkin Hall, and the new Penn Park green space and recreational area set to open of Sept. 15.

Originally published on September 8, 2011