Class of 2014 begin academic year with Convocation
Penn President Amy Gutmann officially opened the University's 271st academic year on Tuesday evening by presiding over Convocation on College Green.
Steeped in tradition, the outdoor ceremony formally welcomes the freshman class and transfer students to campus with a regal procession of University officers and faculty, stirring musical performances and inspirational remarks. It is one of only three instances when the entire Class of 2014 will assemble as a group. The other two are Hey Day and Commencement.
"Together, we celebrate your bright beginning as a proud member of the Penn community," Gutmann told the new students. "And what a community it is. Bearers of the Red and the Blue are 290,000 strong. For more than a quarter of a millennium, our graduates have applied their knowledge and made lasting contributions to humanity. Put simply, Penn's dreamers are the world's doers."
Encouraging the students to work toward their highest aspirations, Gutmann told them to make the most of their exceptional academic talents and advised them to unleash their potential.
Referencing Shakespeare, Gutmann told the newcomers: "You are here this evening because we believe that you are capable of doing great things. All the world's a stage, and your curtain is rising."
Also during the program, Provost Vincent Price advised the students to take "some academic chances" by enrolling in classes outside their comfort zone and participating in the many student sports, cultural organizations and events that Penn has to offer. The next four years, he said, will present every student with remarkable opportunities and considerable responsibilities.
"No one will pick your classes, or wake you in the morning," he said. "You are responsible for making the most of this opportunity."
During the ceremony, held at dusk in front of College Hall, students also listened to musical numbers performed by the student acappella group The Inspiration as well as the Glee Club, which led the group in singing "The Red and the Blue."
The Convocation ceremony was followed by a dessert reception for the students at Wynn Commons.
Photos by Peter Tobia