Class of 2016 Gets a Taste of Penn Traditions

To the sounds of “Pomp and Circumstance” from the University of Pennsylvania Band, President Amy Gutmann, Provost Vincent Price, Secretary of the University Leslie Kruhly, deans, and faculty kicked off Convocation, marking the entry of the newest members of the Penn community.

“Welcome home,” President Amy Gutmann said to the crowd.

The ceremony, usually held on College Green, was moved indoors to The Palestra because of rain.

On the evening before the first day of classes, approximately 2,500 freshmen, along with more than 100 transfer students, streamed into “The Cathedral of Basketball” for an hour of inspiring words, and music from the Penn Glee Club and Quaker Notes.

“As one of the best schools in the country, I feel blessed to be here,” said Wharton freshman Christabel Lorenzo.

The diverse group of students hails from all 50 states and Puerto Rico. This freshman class also includes nearly 350 international students from 69 countries, including China, India, Guatemala, New Zealand, Ghana, and Ireland.

President Gutmann told the crowd to use their college years as a time to explore. “Think of it as a wondrous voyage of mind and spirit,” she said, “and your classmates become not competitors, but friends and colleagues in a truly grand adventure.”

“View your classes, classmates, and teachers not as steps to some other place, but as valuable destinations in their own right,” said Provost Vince Price.

“I now feel like I’m part of a community,” Jonathan Sanchez, a freshman in the School of Engineering and Applied Science, exclaimed. “It’s something I’ve never experienced before.”

After the ceremony, students gathered at Wynn Commons for a dessert reception that included cupcakes decorated with Penn’s logo in red and blue.

“It was nice to see the community—alumni, administrators and faculty welcome us,” said College freshman Alex Thurston.

Convocation is considered a bookend to the Penn experience. The next time the class will gather as a group is at Hey Day during their junior year, and then for a final time at Commencement in May of 2016.

Photos by Stuart Watson
Video by Penn Video Network
Text by Jeanne Leong