August 24, 2005

LEWISBURG, Pa. - The Class of 2009 was welcomed and the 2005-06 academic year at Bucknell University officially opened Tuesday, Aug. 23, with an academic procession in full regalia and a convocation address by Provost Mary A. DeCredico.

The ceremony, held in the Weis Center for the Performing Arts, marked the 160th opening of classes at Bucknell since its founding in 1846. Complete text and audio.

"We know that your years among us will contribute to the life and traditions of Bucknell," said Susan Crawford, chair of the board of trustees. "It is my hope that this year will be filled with both promise and achievement."

President Brian C. Mitchell said that first-year students had heard throughout orientation that the Class of 2009 is the most talented in Bucknell's history.

"This is more than a description. This is a testament to your intellectual ability, to your promise, and to your unity as Bucknellians," Mitchell said. "But let that description also be a challenge. You have reached one goal - admission to Bucknell. Where will each of you go next?"

Mitchell said the Bucknell experience is unique. "Not everyone's experience will be the same. Make Bucknell your own. You won't regret it."

Provost DeCredico told the first-year students that they are among the most exceptional students in the country.

"You survived a rigorous screening process prior to your admission. You have chosen to attend a university that is poised to become the benchmark for other institutions of higher education. You will enjoy the classes of some of the most accomplished teacher-scholars in the world," she said. "In short, you are about to embark upon an extraordinary four-year experience."

DeCredico, who assumed duties as Bucknell provost on July 1, noted that 28 years ago she, too, was a first-year student at Bucknell. "I have yet to fully duplicate the wide range of emotions I experienced as I began the grand opportunities of my Bucknell education."

She said faculty and staff are fully committed to student intellectual, social, professional, and ethical development. "What we would ask in return is that you be fully engaged in the pursuit of your education," said DeCredico.

"Welcome to Bucknell," she concluded. "You are part of an exceptional place. You are a Bucknellian, an identity that will set you apart from your friends at other schools."

Martin Ligare, faculty chair, extended a welcome to all new members of the Bucknell community, including new faculty and members of the Class of 2009.

Following convocation, members of the faculty and administration led the Class of 2009 to the Academic Quadrangle for the Class Candlelighting Ceremony, a ceremony that will be revisited when the class graduates in four years.

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