First-year students enjoy new tradition during induction ceremony
The class of 2016 is a historic one, and not just because of its celebrated academic achievement, diversity, and size. It is the first to experience Transylvania’s new August term, and it participated in a new Transylvania tradition at the opening induction ceremony August 11.
With their families in attendance, each of the students walked across the Haggin Auditorium stage and received a Transylvania coin, marked with a seal on the front and “I dwell in possibility” on the back, a reference to the poem by Emily Dickinson. The coin is to be kept by each student for the four years they attend Transylvania, then upon graduation, given to a person who inspired them in their college walks—whether that be a professor, administrator, family member, friend, or someone else.
“Undoubtedly, many individuals have helped you get to this point in your life,” Michael Covert ’91, associate vice president for retention and associate dean of students, said. “During your time at Transylvania, you will meet many more people who will assist and inspire you. We would like to present you with an important memento, one that represents the community of scholarship that is Transylvania.”
Scholarship and community were themes of the ceremony, which featured remarks from Covert, President R. Owen Williams, Interim Vice President and Dean of the College Kathleen Jagger, classics professor and August term faculty director John Svarlien, and senior and Student Government Association president Charli Fant.
Williams encouraged the students to learn and practice the three R’s—not the typical “three R’s,” but rather relax, relate, and reach.
“I invite—indeed, I implore—each and every one of you to frolic in the indefinite and imagined splendor between matriculation and achievement,” he said. “Ask lots of questions. Open your mind to the many possible answers that will come. This will be a time like none other. Capture the opportunity to the fullness of its promise; immerse yourself in all that Transylvania has to offer.”
Fant talked about how greed can be a noble trait when meant as a hunger for knowledge. She challenged students to seek knowledge and take it in at every opportunity while they are on campus.
“Here at Transylvania, you have the opportunity to feast at a buffet of ideas, books, discussions, lectures, and experiences like you’ve never had before,” she said. “I urge you to not be particularly delicate about how you approach it. Take all of it, or at least as much as you can carry with you in four years.”
Svarlien spoke of the words of the novelist Apuleius, who uses the phrase Lector, intende: laetaberis, which translates roughly to “Reader, pay attention. You will be happy you did.”
“Take Apuleius’s charge to heart—pay attention,” he said. “He didn’t use that imperative in the finger-wagging way that all of us experienced in grade school. He meant it as an invitation. In the next four years, don’t let wonderful experiences pass you by simply because you didn’t notice them.”
Jagger promised on behalf of the faculty a journey for this class and that professors would continue to teach and innovate to help the students along in that journey.
“Our aim is simple—to provide you with the very best college experience possible, and one unlike any other college or university,” she said.
“We are quite certain this year will be an adventure for all of us, and we hope it will enable you to do as Thoreau suggests: ‘Go forth confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined.’”
To listen to the speeches given during the induction ceremony, go to bit.ly/TUinduction.