“Reach out, ask for help, and we will do everything we can to make you successful,” University of Hartford President Gregory Woodward promised to the more than 1,500 new students who packed Lincoln Theater for their Convocation on Saturday, Aug. 26. Woodward also assured the members of the Class of 2021 that they have many opportunities ahead of them.
“You will continue to grow and evolve," Woodward said. "You also have another option. You can decide right now to start over…you have a clean slate.”
The Class of 2021 heard from three upperclassmen who have made the most of their opportunities at UHart. Nina Vazquez ’19, a criminal justice major in the University’s College of Arts and Sciences, talked about how about her professors guided her toward an internship with the Connecticut Secretary of State. Nick Mamet ’18, a marketing and economics and finance major in the Barney School of Business, encouraged the new students to study abroad and get involved on campus. And Mark Markiewicz ’18, a mechanical engineering major in the College of Engineering, Technology, and Architecture, told the crowd about his trip to Kentucky to livestream the total solar eclipse for NASA.
Members of the Class of 2021 were chosen from more than 15,000 applicants. They arrived on campus from 35 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and 26 countries, including Venezuela, China, Denmark, and Ethiopia.
After Convocation, the entire class marched behind President Woodward, who carried the Class of 2021 banner, up to the campus lawn and formed a giant human “H.” They were all wearing red shirts with the words “This Is Water.” That phrase comes from a speech by David Foster Wallace, which President Woodward quoted from in his Convocation remarks, urging people not to take things for granted and to have empathy for others. The first-year students will receive copies of the “This Is Water” book.
Over the next few days, new students will participate in other campus traditions, including a barbecue, Liftoff (day-trips and on-campus activities), and a block party. Classes begin on Tuesday, Aug. 29.