Freshman convocation occurred on Pierce Lawn last Tuesday, Sept. 26, from 6 p.m. to 6:45 p.m.
The event featured an array of speakers, including Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox, President of the UCR Alumni Association Kenneth Noller, Executive Vice Chancellor Cynthia Larive, Chairman of the Academic Senate and Ethnic Studies Professor Dylan Rodriguez and ASUCR President Aram Ayrapetyan.
The event began with an introduction from the UCR Highlander Band yielding to the procession of the UCR Pipe Band, which was composed of the Chancellor’s Dais Party and various faculty members.
Chancellor Wilcox began his address urging students to make the most of their college experience, telling the first years, “I hope you sit here four years from now, full of all the experiences you partook here at UCR and learned from the faculty sitting behind me.”
Overcoming life’s challenges was Noller’s primary message, explaining that life’s greatest lessons are taught outside of a classroom. He advised joining student groups, studying hard and reminded students that “UCR is a community we all build together.”
Rodriguez praised UCR’s world-class faculty and called on students to “maximize your ability to think critically.” He also asked students to address racial and social issues, particularly in tackling white supremacy. Rodriguez declared that the only way to stop white supremacy is “not only by our bodily presence but by our intellectual presence.”
Ayrapetyan was next, emphasizing to the students that they are now in control of their own lives. Ayrapetyan explained that, prior to college, everything was done for them with too much attention being paid to their perception by their peers. “College offers a chance to break away from all of that,” he said, “set your sights high and do not let anyone tell you you can’t do something.” He advised holding friends close, never comparing oneself to others and move forward, saying “the race is a long one and at the end, it’s only with yourself.”
After the event, Nelson Huerta, an undeclared CHASS student, said he was “super excited” to start at UCR, particularly looking forward to graduating early and becoming a lifeguard at the SRC.
Another first-year, Chris Page, a pre-business major, hopes to “make a lot of friends, get some stories, and do my best academically.” Page continued by saying UCR “was the first campus that really called out to me when I was doing all of the tours and I am pretty happy I made this choice.”