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Friday, Dec 19, 2014

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Assistant Dean Jan Hodson and Dean Jeremy Webster survey the audience.

Photographer: Gina Edwards

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Incoming students and upperclassmen listen to the speeches.

Photographer: Gina Edwards

HTC-convocation-roll-book

Lit candle with official HTC roll book.

Photographer: Gina Edwards

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HTC upperclassmen help welcome freshman in yearly ceremony

New students welcomed with candlelight, humor and advice


Since its inception in 2005, the Honors Tutorial College (HTC) Introduction Ceremony for Incoming Freshman has introduced fledgling scholars to the academic atmosphere and reaffirmed their commitment to academic excellence.

On Sept. 6, the HTC welcomed new students in Galbreath Chapel at twilight surrounded candlelight. This year’s ceremony also included some HTC upperclassmen and transfer students.

During the event, students heard comments from HTC Dean Jeremy Webster and six upperclassmen.

The hope of its creators, Ann Fidler, former dean of the HTC, and Jan Hodson, assistant dean of the HTC, has been that the ceremony would provide a venue for quiet reflection as the students prepare for their first day as college students.

“We thought it would be appropriate to have a meaningful event the night before classes started that would set the tone for the beginning of their academic career,” said Hodson.

Webster said he invited the upperclassmen to attend as witnesses to their peers’ first footsteps into college. He wanted to give them a chance to support, meet and talk with the new students.

The student speeches covered a variety of topics, ranging from earnest life advice to academic suggestions to references to hit television shows and movies.

While the solemn setting in the chapel reflected academic reverence, a few speakers incited laughter while describing their past stumbling and sharing some personal, tongue-in-cheek Wisdom.

Kelli Lupas, a senior studying biological science, lightened the mood by dressing in a cloak with a flashlight pressed to her chin when introducing her speech.

“I'm really glad I ended up doing something funny,” Lupas said, adding that she wanted the small dose of humor to dispel any anxiety or intimidation the students may have felt during the serious ceremony.

Other speakers such as Hiram Foster, a sophomore studying communication, discussed the importance of working toward a larger purpose outside of seemingly smaller endeavors.

“It’s important to take advantage of opportunities with a larger goal in mind,” Foster said.

Overall, the event received positive reviews from upperclassmen and freshmen alike.

“It’s nice to meet everyone early and get to know their faces,” said Alex Menrisky, a junior studying journalism.

“It was a little intimidating and I was afraid of falling as I walked down the aisle,” admitted Colleen Taylor, a first-year student studying political science. But, she added that the ceremony was a nice way to start off the school year.

New students' names are written on a roll book. The list of names in the book gets longer every year, and to Hodson, these signatures represent the fellowship of the alumni of the past and the rising students today.

“It brings the whole college together as a community of scholars,” she said.