Rollins formally welcomed the Class of 2019 and transfer students during convocation on Thursday, August 20.
The official opening of Rollins College’s 131st year began on August 20 with a convocation ceremony in the Harold & Ted Alfond Sports Center. The event marked the formal matriculation of all first-year and transfer students.
Interim Dean of Admission & Enrollment Steve Booker ’12MBA presented 500 first-year students and 73 transfer students for the official recommendation of matriculation. “Each year, we welcome a new class of students who seem more academically prepared than the last,” Booker said. “This year is no exception. The average GPA is 3.7 and best average test score is 1226—both of which are as high as or higher than in previous years. Students are attending Rollins from 35 states and 29 countries.”
With Move-in Day still fresh in their memories and Orientation activities still ahead, the first-year students received advice from Rollins leaders about embracing challenges and focusing on personal and academic growth. Here is what they had to say:
Drawing on a recent bungee jumping experience, Cortland Dunn ’16, the president of the Student Government Association, challenged his fellow students to do something intimidating, “whether it’s sitting with strangers in the campus center or joining an organization here on campus,” and encouraged them to step out of their comfort zones by participating in study abroad programs and community engagement opportunities.
Vice President for Student Affairs Mamta Accapadi said told the new students that their journey at Rollins will be hard work. “We want you to stay in it,” Accapadi said. “This is how you will grow. Gift yourself the opportunity to unconditionally and unapologetically commit to this journey with active effort and hard work. As you move into unchartered spaces, begin to map your hopes and dreams.”
Interim Provost Craig McAllaster presented Rollins College’s 205 faculty members. “Their passion for teaching is here for one reason—you,” McAllaster said. They’re yours to engage, and it is your job to engage them.”
Interim Associate Dean of Arts & Sciences Gabriel Barreneche reminded the students that faculty members are people, too, encouraging students to make eye contact with professors and say hello. “We have come to Rollins because of the classroom and the relationships we develop with students are what make us tick,” Barreneche said. “You will become our peer mentors. You will take our classes. You will walk our dogs. You will babysit our children. You will travel with us to far off lands. You will do research with us in the summer. You will travel to conferences with us. You will publish research with us. And we—we will come to your concerts, your plays, your sporting events, your art exhibitions, your fraternity and sorority appreciation dinners—sometimes you’ll even invite us to your weddings.”
Grant Cornwell, the College’s new president, asserted the significance of Rollins’ dedication to a liberal arts approach to learning and said it’s OK for students to begin college with specific goals or with less clarity than they may be comfortable with at the moment. But he urged them to remain open to “insights and inspiration” that could come from unexpected places. “If your quest is to become a writer or a violinist, understand that geology, math, and physics can expand your soul,” Cornwell said. “If you are resolved that medical school or scientific research or business is in your future, remember that philosophy, literature, history, and art will cultivate your humanity in ways that you will draw upon throughout your career, indeed, throughout your life.”
To watch the full ceremony, visit the convocation website.