Class of 2025 celebrates start of in-person Welcome Weekend

August 27, 2021

Students take a selfie at Welcome Weekend.

Cheers and cowbells provided a resounding soundtrack for Welcome Weekend at Quinnipiac on Friday for the Class of 2025. As students gathered on the Quad to celebrate their introduction to Bobcat Nation, they were met by new friends and hundreds of faculty and staff.

“Welcome to an exciting year of study, personal growth, new friendships that will last a lifetime, and, of course, fun,” President Judy Olian said. “There is so much to experience here at your new home away from home, both inside and outside the classroom. I promise these will be among the best years of your life, with some of your most cherished memories.”

Tom Ellett, the university’s chief experience officer, said those memories start now. During his remarks, Ellett leveraged the double meaning of the present: the gift of living in the moment.

“This is your present. This is your time. What you will do with it is in your hands,” Ellett told the students. “At the same time, you have one another in this present of being in a community. This is a community that truly cares — cares about gaining knowledge, skills, and, of course, you being in that process.”

Ellett also introduced the 1929 Fund, a student-driven scholarship program to benefit incoming students. Sophomore Ephemia Nicolakis, a 3+1 accelerated dual degree student in the School of Communications, told the Class of 2025 if all Quinnipiac students donated $19.29 in honor of the year the university was founded, $200,000 would be raised in a single year.

Provost Debra Liebowitz, the university’s top academic officer, encouraged students to follow their own paths, even when they become difficult. She stressed that learning and paths are not linear. Each one is a custom map of a student’s journey.

“Follow your curiosity,” Liebowitz said. “Know that the road is messy along the way, that the messiness sometimes is internal, sometimes it’s external. But you’re on the right path and there are supports here.”

This year’s class comes from 30 states and several countries, including Olian’s own native Australia. When Olian asked if any first-year students were from Australia, Zali Adams ‘25 proudly waved her hand.

Adams, a sociology major from Port Pirie in South Australia, is also a member of Quinnipiac softball team. So does how someone from Australia hear about a university 10,000 miles away?

Adams said an advocate back home reached out to several schools on her behalf, including Quinnipiac.

“Everything about it really caught my eye,” said Adams, who comes from the same region of Australian as Quinnipiac men’s basketball player Jacob Rigoni ’21, MS ‘22. “I’m just so excited to get started. I can’t wait.”

Adams is part of an incoming class with an average GPA of 3.5 and an average SAT score over 1200. Twenty-two percent of the Class of 2025 are students of color.

“The diversity of our community is an opportunity to venture outside the familiar, to question long-held beliefs or assumptions, to step into another’s shoes and re-examine traditions, and to observe and value others’ beliefs and traditions,” Olian said.

Don Sawyer, vice president of equity, inclusion and leadership development, told students to remember who they are and why they are here.

“Times are going to get tough. You won’t get the best grade all the time. That person that you like may not like you in the same way that you like them,” Sawyer said. “You may doubt yourself at times ... but remember who you are.”

Olian agreed.

“Your educational journey at QU, the one you're starting this week, I know will change you forever,” Olian said. “Because of what you'll learn about your chosen field, about related disciplines, about the world, and most importantly — what you’ll learn about yourself — who you are, who you want to be, how you want to have impact. You could not be in a better place to launch that journey.”

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