The Class of 2012 was welcomed to the College of William and Mary during the annual Convocation ceremony at the Wren Building Friday.
The Convocation speaker was Rhian Horgan ’99, a former student body president and current vice president with J.P. Morgan, a Fortune 500 financial services provider.
The ceremony lasted a little over half an hour and included a welcome address given by Provost Geoffrey Feiss, the official opening of the academic session by Interim College President Taylor Reveley, Horgan’s speech and the presentation of the 2008 President’s Awards for Service to the Community.
The 80-degree weather was overwhelming for some, and Reveley assured his colleagues, all dressed in black dress robes, that it was “socially acceptable to remove all their garments … just take it off.”
Horgan’s keynote address urged students to get involved in college life, taking full advantage of the College’s resources.
“I can assure you that this community will not only shape and support you during your years at the College, but for the many years that follow your graduation,” she said.
Horgan also stressed the importance of community service and helping other people by opening the doors for them.
“I encourage and challenge you during your time at the College and later as alumni, to not only walk through the doors which will be opened for you,” Horgan said, “but also to then open doors for others whenever possible.”
She ended the speech by quoting Miroslav Hlub’s “The Door” to encourage new students to “go and open the door” to new opportunities.
“Today, we will literally open the doors of the Wren Building for you and welcome you into the William and Mary community. Go and open the doors,” she said.
Following Horgan’s address was the presentation of the 2008 President’s Awards for Service to the Community. Biology professor Dennis Taylor won the faculty award, and he donated the $500 prize money to the Williamsburg Climate Action Network. Student winner Meghan Dunne ’09 granted her prize money to the Community Action Agency.
Reveley’s closing remarks urged students to recycle and conserve resources in order to improve the College’s sustainability. He mentioned the newly-formed Sustainability Committee, which monitors the Green Fee — a student body-voted initiative that raises money annually for environmental sustainability initiatives — and encouraged environmentally friendly practices such as not using trays at the dining halls or turning off unneeded lights in dorm rooms.
“My hope — and my expectation — is that William and Mary will quickly become a model for other schools,” Reveley said, “showing that real progress can be made on sustainability even by colleges that are not awash in income.”
The ceremony concluded with the traditional walk through the Wren Building and the barbeque on the Wren courtyard.