LEWISBURG, Pa. – Amid a setting summer sun that framed Rooke Chapel and the strains of a brass quintet, Bucknell University faculty and staff, dressed in the traditional colored garb of academia, paraded into the Weis Center for the Performing Arts to greet the estimated 950 students of the Class of 2012 starting their Bucknell academic careers. || Orientation slideshow
Convocation officially opened Bucknell’s 163rd academic year Tuesday evening.
The new students, representing one of the most selective classes in school history, were welcomed by the University’s top academic officials, chaplains and Board of Trustees. The ceremony concluded with a kilted bagpiper leading a procession to the Academic Quadrangle for the traditional candle lighting and singing of the University’s alma mater, “Dear Bucknell.”
Liberal arts education
In greeting the new students, hailing from 39 states and the District of Columbia and 48 countries, President Brian C. Mitchell highlighted the importance of a liberal arts education and the breadth of opportunities available at Bucknell.
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“Here, learning is an active enterprise,” Mitchell said. “Here, your academic life and life outside the classroom can connect with and affirm one another as you work toward larger goals and purposes.”
He, too, noted with pride the success and service of Bucknell’s graduates – not only in terms of pay but volunteerism – and cited recent surveys that underscored Bucknell’s national prominence in both categories.
'Success and service'
“Success and service. … Your fellow Bucknellians have paved the way for you. Not only are they succeeding in their careers, they have established a proven track record of commitment to the highest ideals of compassion and service,” he said.
Provost Michael Smyer, who joined the University on July 1, spoke about “great expectations.”
“In short, the Bucknell community starts with great expectations for you and for itself,” Smyer said. “And we know that you will live up to them. Why? Because you have the talent, energy and drive to do it.”
In welcoming the new students to the Bucknell learning community, Smyer said, “We will strive to link your talents and concerns to the larger society. For some, that may mean thinking about how to use your engineering passion in a changing world increasingly concerned about sustainability. For others, it may mean linking your love for history to issues of human rights and immigration or connecting your dedication to children to your passion for video development and creating the 21st century version of ‘Sesame Street.’ ”
“In sum,” he concluded, “you and Bucknell will be partners over the next four years. We will be providing the day-to-day lessons, the encouragement, the expectations. You will do your part by rising to the challenges, making the decisions and learning to be an increasingly responsible young adult.”
Beginning of doing
Rabbi Serena Fujita, a Bucknell chaplain, offered the invocation, saying, “Our ancestors believed that learning was the beginning of doing, that learning is not a passive but an active process that leads to greater things. … Bucknellians have taken their learning out into the world to facilitate change to make the world a more reasonable place to live. May you have the opportunity to follow in Bucknellians’ footsteps.”
Bucknell graduate and trustee John Mathias ’69, M’72, noting that he has been a lifelong resident of Lewisburg, said he had the double distinction of welcoming new students, faculty and staff to both his school and his town.
“We all know that Bucknell is one of the very best undergraduate institutions of higher education in the country. What you may not know is that Lewisburg has been named one of the best small towns in America,” he said. “Combined, that’s pretty special.”
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