The College’s Alma Mater opened the Convocation ceremony for the Class of 2011.
p. College President Gene Nichol then proclaimed the opening of the 2007-2008 academic session and introduced Board of Visitors Rector Michael Powell ’85.
p. Gene Nichol said that, in giving the floor to a new rector, he was departing from tradition.
p. “Something that is always risky in the state of Virginia,” Nichol added, alluding to last year’s Wren cross controversy.
p. The current generation of students is “almost a new species,” Powell said, calling the students “YouTubians.”
p. He advised students that, despite instant-satisfaction gadgets, what they would remember most would be the “timeless moments,” such as a meaningful discussion with a friend late into the night.
p. Nichol then introduced the keynote speaker, Michelle Whitehurst-Cook ’75, whom he lauded for “doing much in the improvement of medical access.”
p. Whitehurst-Cook has received the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine Educational Innovation and Educational Research Award and the YWCA Woman of the Year Award, among others.
p. Nichol asked everyone in the audience to come around to the other side of the building, and as the recessional played, the freshmen began the traditional walk through Wren.
p. Hundreds of students, faculty and alumni waited there to greet incoming freshmen with applause and high-fives.
p. “What really surprised me was how many upperclassmen were there to greet us, standing and clapping in the heat the whole time,” Kamal Helmy ’11 said after the event. “I’ve been hearing about how [College] students treat each other like family, and this really convinced me … It really made me want to do the same for the freshmen next year.”