On Thursday, August 21, the Class of 2018 and transfer students marked their formal matriculation at the start of Rollins College’s 130th year.
Bagpipers led a procession of new Rollins students into Warden Arena on Thursday at the start of the College’s 2014-15 Convocation ceremony.
With the hustle and bustle of move-in day still fresh, 545 first-year students and 65 transfer students were warmly welcomed by the faculty and administration. Each speaker took the opportunity to introduce Rollins’ legacy of the liberal arts as well as the personal and engaged experiences that await new students.
“Join anything and everything,” advised Student Government Association President Elise Ablin ’15. “It is the uniqueness of others that has helped me find myself. It is the Rollins family that ties us all together.” Chairman of the Academic Honor Council Brennan Smith ’16 followed Albin’s remarks by leading the official signing of Rollins’ academic honor pledge.
Vice President for Student Affairs Mamta Accapadi told the young audience that “in life we are always at the crossroads of opportunity and circumstance.” She emphasized that students should accept and honor the love of their families and friends while at Rollins, but also allow a love of self. “This is a journey of who you are to who you never imagined you could be.”
Vice President for Academic Affairs & Provost Carol Bresnahan presented the 185 dedicated faculty members who provide the 10-to-one student-faculty ratio at the College. “We cherish this ratio at Rollins,” Bresnahan said, “because it allows us to offer an individualized learning experience.”
Speaking for the faculty, Associate Professor of Spanish Gabriel Barreneche reminded students that professors are humans, too. While the faculty will undoubtedly keep high standards, they are caring, approachable people who will “know your name.” “The faculty—we’re all nerds—but so are you. You would not have gotten into Rollins College if there was not a little nerd inside of you. This is a safe place to be a nerd, so accept the inner nerd in you.”
While the afternoon was filled with thoughtful guidance, Acting President Craig McAllaster may have provided the best recommendation of all. “Take the time to maximize this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” McAllaster said. “A liberal arts education is a tapestry of many threads.”
Selected from one of the largest pool of applicants in Rollins’ history, first-year and transfer students of 2014-15 represent 397 high schools and 54 colleges and universities in 35 states and 38 countries. But Interim Dean of Admission and Enrollment Steve Booker ’12MBA said that statistics alone do not fully characterize the group of students that make up the Class of 2018. “You’ve demonstrated a deep commitment to helping others. You’re leaders. You’re artistically gifted. You’re athletically talented. You’ve already done a lot…I encourage you to use your gifts to further strengthen this amazing Rollins community.”