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Wednesday, Oct 01, 2014

Fog/Mist, 60 °F

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President McDavis and his wife, Deborah, pose with students at First-Year Students Convocation

Photographer: Scotty Hall

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Student promotes Men's Water Polo Club Team at Student Involvement Fair

Photographer: Scotty Hall

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First-year students seated inside Convocation Center

Photographer: Scotty Hall

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OHIO welcomes Class of 2015

'Make it a good journey,' bids McDavis


Ohio University's first-year students officially kicked off their academic careers Monday at the President's Convocation for First-Year Students.

Approximately 4,000 new Bobcats gathered in the Convocation Center for the annual reception. Faculty, staff and student leaders were also on hand to welcome the newest members of the University family.

In an impassioned address, President Roderick J. McDavis elaborated on the promise of Ohio University and its mission to provide the best student-centered learning experience in America.

"You came to this great University as I did because you had a dream of what you wanted to do with your lives, and you understood that the only way you can reach your dreams was a college education," he said.

McDavis connected with students as an OHIO alumnus and reminisced about personal challenges he faced as a first-year Bobcat in 1966, including his first test at Ohio University.
 
"On the front of that exam in bold print was the letter 'F'… I felt like packing up and going home. I said, 'I can't make it. I can't make it,'" he revealed.

With the support of faculty, changed study habits and encouragement from his late mother, McDavis said he was able to overcome the obstacles of his college transition. He bid incoming freshmen to do the same.

"We want every one of you to be back here in four years on this floor earning a degree. None of you should leave here without a degree. You did not come here for a season; you came here for a reason," he told the crowd.

McDavis' encouragement resonated with many of the first-year students.

"He was really passionate. I was expecting a boring speech… but he made it really interesting and fun to listen to. It really motivated me," said freshman Brett Haeuptle.

In her address, Executive Vice President and Provost Pam Benoit addressed students on "packing the mind for life".
 
"Unlike the boxes and the bags that you recently stowed your possessions in, your mind has no limits. It can and should be endlessly filled. A well stocked mind is the foundation for a meaningful life… Neglect nothing when it comes to your intellectual development, and you will have nothing to regret," she said.

Ohio University’s Honor Council Chair Evan Ecos, a junior communication studies major, introduced the incoming students to the University's Honor Code.

"I promise you now, those of us who have been here for a few years will hold you to a high standard, not because you are freshman, but because you are a Bobcat," he said.

Upon exiting the Convocation Center, each member of the Class of 2015 had an opportunity to sign the Honor Code, pledging to academic, social and civic responsibility.

Students in attendance at the convocation donned green OHIO t-shirts – a gift from the University to encourage school pride. Students also received green bracelets which read: “Be Smart, Be Civil, Be Safe” – a reminder to act responsibly as a representative of Ohio University and a resident of Athens.

Noting the bracelets, McDavis encouraged students to care for one another and keep the shared community clean. He also addressed OHIO's party school reputation.

"The value of our degree is equal to the academic reputation that we have – not the party school reputation," he explained. "Let you, the class of 2015, put an end to the party school reputation of this university."

McDavis went on to formally induct students into the Ohio University family.
 
"This is the first day of your journey toward your promise," he said. "Make it a good journey."

As first-year students pressed out of the gymnasium, they were met by representatives from 258 campus organizations at the Student Involvement Fair. The fair annually introduces first-year students to the numerous ways they can become involved with the OHIO community.

"I'm so excited. (The convocation) made me feel like a student here now," said freshman Alexis Daniels.

"I think it was a great start," added freshman Casey Ward. "It gives you a lot of information on what the University expects from you."