Freshmen were officially welcomed into the 319-year-old Tribe at Convocation Friday, filing through the Wren Courtyard in formal attire to take part in one of the College’s most celebrated traditions.
“If you want the best education on the planet, you’ve come to the right place,” Provost Michael Halleran said. “There is only one William and Mary, and now it’s yours.”
Convocation officially welcomes each freshman class into the College. After remarks from the provost, College president and a guest speaker, the Alma Mater is performed and freshmen proceed from the Wren Building courtyard into the portico to be greeted by upperclassmen with high-fives and cheers.
Traditionally, the College chooses an alumnus to serve as a guest speaker for Convocation, but this year’s speaker, U.S. District Judge Rebecca Beach Smith ’71, J.D. ’79 was unable to reschedule after the ceremony was postponed due to Hurricane Irene. In her place, Reveley selected Vice President for Student Affairs Ginger Ambler ’88, Ph.D. ’06.
“Savor it. Savor the moments, savor the gatherings, and savor the legacy,” Ambler said. “There are plenty of fine institutions in this country, but I’d argue that no college rivals William and Mary as a community.”
Reveley extended his welcome as well, happy to officially begin the College’s 319th year after some unexpected bumps.
“Short of a plague of locusts or toads falling out of the sky I think we’re clear,” Reveley said. “William and Mary is for a lifetime. It will be part of your identity from now on.”
Morgan Harwood ’15 described her thoughts at the top of the steps to the Wren Building, overlooking the cheering crowd.
“I thought, what did I sign up for? In a good way though,” she said. “It was so cool, everyone was so nice. I felt welcomed.”
Sophomore Kelly O’Toole enjoyed returning to see one of her favorite College traditions and high-fiving many of the new Tribe members.
“It was awesome, everyone was super excited,” she said. “But now I think I could use some hand sanitizer.”
The Class of 2015 banner was unveiled by 2013 Class President Tess DeAtley and 2014 Class President Tony Hanagan. The ceremony also recognized student Cassie Powell ’12 and faculty member Richard Thompson for their exemplary community service.