More than 1,500 students gathered in McDonough Arena to culminate New Student Orientation (NSO) on Aug. 30 and were reminded about the mysteries and life lessons awaiting them during their matriculation.
Now that Georgetown’s most recent group of first-years has been introduced to the departments in which they will study, scheduled their classes, selected their dining plans and moved into their residence halls, Provost James O’Donnell told students that was only the beginning for them as classes start on Sept. 2. Watch Provost O'Donnell speak to the class of 2013
“By Wednesday you’ll be in spaces that look familiar -- chalkboards, one-armed desks, clocks on the wall with hands that move amazingly slowly, but they’ll be places unlike any you’ve known before. Places for reaching and testing, for slowing down and speeding up, places for taking responsibility -- for yourself and for the lives and world you’re about to be handed,” he said during New Student Convocation. “Brace yourselves.”
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and New Student Orientation
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And somewhere in the midst of it all, the first-year students will have to discover the keys that unlock their own voices and missions. Miranda Rose Hall (C’11) addressed her new peers by taking pages from her own Georgetown experience. Watch Hall's remarks
“This time two years ago, I was running a little late to my own freshman convocation, and I realized on the way that I’d grabbed the wrong bag, forgotten my robe and locked myself out of my room,” she recalled.
Though her convocation experience may have been harried, she still remembered sitting in the audience and listening to a chorus of Hilltop welcomes. “I remember feeling excited and terrified and completely overwhelmed by all of these distinguished, collegiate voices,” she said.
But it didn’t take her long to realize that the chorus of voices mixed in with many others along the way were there to help her on her journey -- everyone from the deans and professors to coaches and resident assistants.
Georgetown President John J. DeGioia followed up Hall’s sentiments later in the program by reminding the first-years that they are not alone in their quests to meet their goals and aspirations.
Click below to view streaming video of President DeGioia's remarks
“It is truly a special moment when you enter Healy Gates,” he said. “You’re beginning a journey … We believe so strongly in this journey that we have dedicated our lives to joining you, to supporting you and to challenging you in this endeavor.”
DeGioia asked Nereida Jaima (NHS’10) to stand during a portion of the convocation. She entered Georgetown after graduating from Chicago's Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, which is a member of a network of schools geared toward preparing students from underrepresented socio-economic backgrounds for post-secondary education.
“She represents the one one-hundredth of one percent of the world’s entire population who share with each of you the privilege of attending a major American research university,” DeGioia said.
In addition to serving as a tradition that introduces new Hoyas to the university, the convocation launches the higher education careers of many first-years. Students recite an honor pledge and receive the robes they will don later for their commencement ceremonies.
“The faculty you see behind me wear the splendid and various robes that mark them as doctors of philosophy – the university’s senior scholars,” DeGioia told the students. “The robe you carry over your arm is the bachelor’s gown. When you don that gown, you become part of our intellectual community and you signify your commitment to pursue its highest ideals: the disinterested search for truth in the service of the nation and the world.”
Francis Ambrosio, associate professor and director of undergraduate studies in the philosophy department was one of the senior scholars the president referred to. He encouraged the first-years to use the liberal educations they will receive to question everything. Watch Prof. Ambrosio speak to the class of 2013
“The reality of mystery encompasses whatever can be known, but also moves beyond it and puts it in dialogue with all that exceeds the grasp of knowledge, with all that remains in question,” he said. “The mysterious character of reality opens up the freedom to trust, to hope and to love as authentic human possibilities.”