Each academic year, the College of William and Mary’s Convocation marks the start of fall classes and new students’ journey. This year, students heard from entrepreneur Nicco Mele ’99, College President Taylor Reveley and Class of 2017 President Emily Thomas ’17.
William and Mary is now yours, personally yours,” Reveley said.
“William and Mary is now yours, personally yours,” Reveley said.
Following official remarks, new students walk through the Christopher Wren Building and down to the Sunken Garden, where they are met by hundreds of returning students to exchange high fives and cheers for the College. Before they did this, however, they listened to the words of an alum who has spent his years since graduation working as a venture capitalist, entrepreneur and media mogul.
“I’m not sure what Nicco uses on his business card, but Renaissance Man, superhero … would be plausible,” Reveley said.
In his speech, Mele spoke about his time at the College, specifically finding a job on campus and pursuing a variety of interests. During his freshman year he began working for the Tech Department, where he fixed computers for all four years he spent at the College. He also shared an experience from a summer job in Washington, D.C. Mele learned that he was interested in glass-blowing and through a Charles Center Scholarship was able to study glass blowing, even though he was not pursuing a career in the art.
Mele emphasized that curiosity will help students navigate a complex university and will help them figure out the big and small things in life.
We are living in a moment of brokenness,” Mele said. “In the midst of all of this, you must have the courage to hope, you must have the courage to imagine a better and brighter day, and you must take the curiosity that this university will feed you and use it to discover innovative and imagine solutions that will heal this brokenness.”
“We are living in a moment of brokenness,” Mele said. “In the midst of all of this, you must have the courage to hope, you must have the courage to imagine a better and brighter day, and you must take the curiosity that this university will feed you and use it to discover innovative and imagine solutions that will heal this brokenness.”
Mele’s speech also touched on the possibilities that attending a liberal arts university provides for new students.
“The biggest takeaway [is] that William and Mary really supports you no matter what you want to do, whether it’s medicine or art or glass-blowing,” Alexis Dorsey ’20 said.
To mark the Class of 2020’s arrival at the College, was the tradition of presenting the new class with their official banner. Emily Thomas, Class of 2018 President Laini Boyd ’18 and Class of 2019 President Jonah Yesowitz ’19 aided in this tradition, unfolding the banner from the top of the Wren Building.
Reveley also urged new students to take breaks when they were stressed and to enjoy their time at the College. He said that it is normal for students to feel overwhelmed as they learn their way around campus and start taking their first collegiate classes.
Most importantly, he wanted students to feel free to sing the alma mater with The William and Mary Choir.
“I know you can sing the alma mater,” Reveley said. “Guys, in particular guys, it’s perfectly okay to sing the alma mater – it does not constitute a loss of virility.”
With the words, “Are you guys ready to do it?” Reveley welcomed new students to walk through the doors of the Wren Building and into a sea of high-fives.
For the new students, these high-fives were exciting – and also a physical workout. Joanna Schroeder ’20 said that while it was “awesome” and “welcoming,” her arm was exhausted half-way through.
Honestly I feel very welcome,” Schroeder said. “I feel like so much more a part of this school after that. It was so much fun and there was so much energy.”
“Honestly I feel very welcome,” Schroeder said. “I feel like so much more a part of this school after that. It was so much fun and there was so much energy.”
During Convocation, Reveley also presented the President’s Awards for Service to the Community to School of Education Professor Debbie Ramer and Jiajia Chen ’18. These awards came with monetary contributions to the service organizations of the recipients’ choice. Spokespeople for the service organizations were also in attendance.