Convocation Extends Warm Welcome to New Students

News Story: September 15, 2017
New students recite the inducation oath during Convocation. 

Watch video from New Student Convocation

Sacred Heart University’s largest incoming class to date received a warm welcome at the University’s annual New Student Convocation ceremony.

The 1,420 freshmen and 144 transfer students ascended the hill by Curtis Hall to the sounds of the marching band and entered the William H. Pitt Center, where administrators, deans, professors and upperclassmen awaited them.

Two first-year students who participated in SHU’s pre-fall program, Community Connections, told their peers that college is about new beginnings and finding yourself. “Don’t be afraid to have new experiences” they advised.

Senior Taryn McCormick, class of 2018 student government president, compared starting college to getting a new car, both of which she has experienced. She said familiarizing herself with her new car’s fancy back-up camera and other gadgets took time. “College can and will be an adjustment, but over time you will adjust,” she assured the new students.

McCormick encouraged students to accept each other and their differences; embrace all the “dings and scratches”; and do not let the challenges and setbacks define who they become. “Just remember, each of you has proven that you have what it takes to be a Pioneer,” she said.

Tuvana Rua, assistant professor of management, posed a series of questions about whether the newcomers had done their own laundry before, or if they had ever been away from home for more than six weeks. Many of them raised their hands to signify that, yes, college will be their first time doing many things independently.

Rua encouraged the class members to ask for help from upperclassmen, resident assistants, professors and whoever else may cross their paths. “It takes a strong person to ask for help when they need it,” she said. She also advised students not to spend too much time on social media. 

President John J. Petillo counseled the students to express their ideas, doubts and questions. “These are years for you to grow in the safety and comfort of being curious, questioning and understanding yourself. Your faculty is here not only to teach, but to engage you; to help you feel comfortable in pushing the boundaries of your journey and your understanding. Whatever your major will be, go beyond what you believe of yourself today. But for God’s sake, do not be complacent. Do not just absorb and simply feed back. You will have wasted the gift of these undergraduate years. Take a risk,” Petillo said.

The SHU Band and Choir performed a rendition of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” before the new students took the induction oath, led by Michael Bozzone, assistant dean of the College of Arts & Sciences. Convocation ended with the singing of SHU’s alma mater.

New Student Convocation 8/30/17