Aug 27, 2014
By Angela Woodward; Photos by Lauren Pond
The Class of 2018 was officially inducted into the Ohio University family this past weekend when more than 4,300 first-year students participated in an annual tradition of welcoming the newest Bobcats to campus.
The President’s Convocation for First-Year Students was held Sunday at the Convocation Center and served as the official welcome for OHIO’s largest, brightest and most diverse class of first-year students to date. The ceremony featured speeches from President Roderick J. McDavis, the University’s faculty and staff, and a fellow Bobcat – all of them sharing what it means to be a member of the OHIO community.
In addressing OHIO’s newest Bobcats, President McDavis talked about the promise of Ohio University and some of the things he experienced when he arrived on the Athens Campus as a first-year student in 1966. He reminded students, “You did not come here to be an expert on Court Street. You came here to be an expert on success street. … We want everyone in this room to come back here in four years … and graduate as the Class of 2018.”
Meg Omecene, a junior studying strategic communication in the Scripps College of Communication, delivered the official student welcome at the President’s Convocation for First-Year Students. Omecene earned the honor of speaking at the event by winning the Division of Student Affairs’ second annual #BobcatExperience Contest, which was held over the summer. In her speech, Omecene talked about being part of the Bobcat Family and advised the students not to close themselves off.
“Allow yourself to say yes to everything offered to you, whether it’s a program with your RA that sounds lame, or a choral group that you think you might not make, or a club that you think sounds fun but you think might be weird … try everything,” she said. “I was and sometimes still am so scared to try things outside of my comfort zone, but some of the best memories I have at OU have been at things I didn’t know if I should go to. … I learned that there is no such thing as wasted time in college, unless you truly squander it away.”
Beth Quitslund, chair of Faculty Senate and an associate professor of English, addressed the Class of 2018 on behalf of the “scholars, scientists, artists, critics, engineers, entrepreneurs, leaders and healers” who make up the University’s faculty.
“A university education is an opportunity and a privilege,” Quitslund said. “It is a time to learn some of the things that your future employers will expect you to know. It is also, however, a unique chance, before you are fully engaged in the activities and responsibilities of your adult life, to listen, read, reflect, question, inquire, explore, argue, revise, experiment, imagine, learn, and reflect again.
“It is the hope of this faculty that in four years when you gather here for commencement, your curiosity will be even wider and deeper than it is today,” she said.
Title IX, OHIO’s all-female a cappella group, took the opportunity to immerse the Class of 2018 in some of Ohio University’s culture. The group, under the direction of Assistant Professor of Music Education Paul Mayhew, taught the incoming students the University’s alma mater, “Alma Mater, Ohio,” as well as its fight song, “Stand Up and Cheer.”
Ohio University, its students and its employees adhere to five core values that define the OHIO community – community, citizenship, civility, character and commitment. President McDavis explained those values to the first-year students, telling them: “You are a representative of Ohio University and a resident of Athens. You need to take care of yourself, take care of one another, and take care of the place where you live and call home.”
The Class of 2018 made history during the President’s Convocation for First-Year Students, joining President McDavis as he ventured into a new genre – the selfie. President McDavis announced the launch of the Office of the President’s new Twitter account, with the first posts on that account being selfies he took with the Class of 2018 during the event. As of Wednesday morning, the new Twitter account had nearly 1,500 followers.
The Twitter account is yet another means for students to connect with President McDavis and follows the launch of his blog, “From the President’s Desk,” that debuted in July.
Ohio University’s Class of 2018 showed its Bobcat Pride as President McDavis took his first selfie. These first-year students demonstrated their enthusiasm throughout Sunday’s ceremony, cheering when each college dean was introduced and spontaneously engaging in an “OU, Oh yeah” chant.
The President’s Convocation for First-Year Students ended with the Class of 2018 – led by the Marching 110, President McDavis, and members of the University’s student leadership, faculty leadership and executive staff – marching up Richland Avenue and through the College Gate.
Once through the College Gate, students were invited to explore 350 of the more than 500 student organizations offered on the Athens Campus at the Campus Involvement Fair.
Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Jenny Hall-Jones greeted first-year students on their way to the Campus Involvement Fair on College Green.