University community welcomes Class of 2023

August 25, 2019

Students smile during the Welcome Weekend remarks.

Cheering loudly and waving gold and blue signs, hundreds of members of #BobcatNation enthusiastically welcomed the Class of 2023 at a celebration in the People’s United Center on Saturday morning.

“Your journey at Quinnipiac starts today,” President Judy D. Olian told the newest members of the Bobcat family. “Like those wireless wonders we all carry, a university education is a portal to a world beyond ourselves. But if your phone is a window that lets you look and hear but never fully experience, a Quinnipiac education is an experience that opens to an entirely new world, a life journey that is different — and that door keeps on opening, and opening again and again.”

The first-year students were encouraged to allow their college experience to transform them.

“A Quinnipiac education will reveal whole new subject areas, countries and cultures that you never knew existed,” President Olian predicted. “You will become curious and thirsty for more. You will want to explore and discover further. You will be exposed to scholars and fellow students whose range of experiences complement yours, surprise you, leave you in awe and open new horizons. This is a learning environment that celebrates the ideals of reason, ethics and integrity.”

Jennifer Brown, interim executive vice president and provost, implored the students to learn how to disconnect from external stimuli so they can focus on achieving a specific project or goal.

“I want to suggest that you set a goal for yourselves that you get comfortable — really comfortable — with being alone every little once in awhile. And get to being OK with it – even enjoying it — and drawing from solitude the joys and lessons it offers,” Provost Brown said.

“Learn how to be alone, because — and this is key — comfort with being alone provides the foundation for your other big lesson you are going to learn in college: you must also learn how to be in community, whether that community is a friendship, romantic relationship, dorm room, classroom, sports team, religious organization, or international travel group. Learning how to balance your own needs and preferences, your individual beliefs and values, with the needs, values, and norms of a community is one of the textbook definitions of growing up – and key to being a responsible, enlightened 21st century citizen.”

Donald C. Sawyer III, associate vice president for academic affairs and chief diversity officer, encouraged the first-year students to celebrate what they have accomplished — that they worked diligently and earned the seats in which they sat.

"It does not matter if every person in your family went to college or if you are the first one. It doesn’t matter if you breezed through high school or if you had to put in some serious effort. It doesn’t matter if you made it to college right after high school or if your journey took a few turns and you got a few bumps and bruises along the way. What matters is the fact that you are all here. You have had different experiences, taken different paths, yet you are all here today — together — starting on this new journey,” said Sawyer. “It’s not a coincidence. You deserve to be here. You are meant to be here. You are welcomed here. I hope that throughout your time as a member of #BobcatNation, it will be clear, that you are seen, you are heard, and you matter."

He said he hopes that when the students return to this space to graduate, they are confident that they made a positive impact.

“This is your time to grow. Your time to take chances while being supported. This is your chance to push yourself beyond boundaries,” he said. “I want you to be able to say that this is a better place because of what you contributed — and I want you to say that you are a better person because you were here.”

Austin Calvo ’20, president of the Student Government Association, urged his newest peers to make the most of their time at Quinnipiac.

“This is your chance to be whoever you want to be,” he told the class. “If you loved who you were in high school, keep being that person, keep being you and you’ll find people that love the person you are, too. But, if you hated who you were in high school, a reputation you had, or a nickname, now’s your chance to change that. Like our student body creed says: We are the architects of our own future.”

The students were encouraged to celebrate differences, and to collaborate with and learn from individuals from different walks of life.

“You will discover new things within you, you will find new purpose and you will see the world around you with a different lens,” President Olian predicted. “Your journey will be stimulating, transformative, sometimes scary, often unpredictable, a lot of work, tremendous personal growth, and much fun, too. Every one of us here today is here to help you on that journey, as you grow and thrive. Welcome to the Bobcat family.”

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