Commencement is Sweet for Class of ’16

August 24, 2011

Nearly 6,000 Wildcats invaded McKale Center for this year’s edition of New Student Convocation. Held in McKale for the second year, New Student Convocation 2012 had all the raving moments of a pre-game to a great school year; energetic music, cheering, spontaneous renditions of the wave… The crowd even applauded itself – yep, the class of 2016 has some serious spirit.

Beginning with brief talks by top UA leadership including President Ann Weaver Hart, and heads of various university divisions and departments, students received valuable wisdom, motivation and advice.

President Ann Weaver Hart welcomed the new Wildcats, “The heart of our mission is your success,” said Hart. “I'm a first year student too, so we share that."

Continuing the welcome, Provost Andrew Comrie shared his own advice for students, “We want to encourage each of you to persevere and challenge yourselves.” While Wanda Howell, Chair of the Faculty, implored the new students to take advantage of relationships with faculty. "We're all really glad you're here. We need to be able to direct you to your bliss.”

Melissa Vito, Vice President for Student Affairs, took the opportunity to share some of the more remarkable aspects of the new students noting that the class of 2016 is the largest and most diverse freshman class in UA history. Also among this batch of new students are 1,100 Honors students, 111 student athletes, and 340 national scholars.

Vice President Vito also debuted a new campus service. “We've created a UA Savvy portal for you to connect and engage." The e-mail service keeps students in touch with deals and resources that they may not have otherwise known about.

ASUA Student Body President Katy Murray provided a student perspective for the freshmen, “You're going to create new memories, you'll discover who you are, and what you're passionate about.” Murray also encouraged students to get involved, manage their time, and to enjoy the little things. The crowd got a good laugh as Murray ended her speech with the quote of the night “You only live once. Hashtag YOLO."

Keeping with the Twitter theme, Athletic Director Greg Byrne provided students a mix of thoughtful advice and the social media savvy he’s known for. He stressed that students keep in touch with loved ones while away, "Call home, call your family, call the people you love," before concluding his speech with a Twitter giveaway for a UA Hawaiian shirt and campus poster.

And it wouldn’t be convocation without a visit from the pep band and cheer squad. Attendees got a hands-on lesson in UA traditions, cheers, the fight song, and everything else they need to know for athletic events. Wilbur showed off his one-arm push-ups and the ceremony concluded as the entire freshman class broke into the fight song.

After a welcome like this, it’s safe to say that the next four years will be a blast.

Wildcat Welcome Official Page