Class of 2022 prepares to “make the whole world” their campus

by University Communications,

  • Steppin’ Out participants hike Triangulation Peak during Jump Start.
    Steppin’ Out participants hike Triangulation Peak during Jump Start, a program that offers incoming students an experience of Salem and the greater Willamette Valley before Opening Days.
  • Steppin’ Out participants hike Triangulation Peak during Jump Start.
    Steppin’ Out participants hike Triangulation Peak during Jump Start. Students also participated in Ohana and Service, Leadership and Sustainability.
  • Student carries a large box up stairs during Opening Days move-in.
    Willamette students, faculty and staff united to help new students move into the residence halls in the first hours of Opening Days.
  • One student arrived in a car with the words, “Go Bearcats #collegeorbust” painted on its rear window.
    A new student and their family arrive at move-in with a decorated car.
  • A student unpacks in a residence hall room.
    A student unpacks after volunteers from the fall sports teams, American Studies Program, sororities, faculty and staff helped unload vehicles during move-in.
  • Opening Days leaders rush the Quad during the kick-off event for new students and their families.
    Opening Days leaders rush the Quad during the kick-off event.
  • Eleven new students in Group No. 25 led by Opening Days leaders Katie Bick and Ben Love smile for a photo.
    New students split into small groups with their Opening Days leaders after the kick-off celebration.
  • A small group of new students sits in a circle in the shade of the Star Trees with Waller Hall in the background.
    New students gather in small groups to get to know one another.
  • Two students sitting on a blanket have a conversation during the Opening Days Picnic Dinner.
    Students and their family members enjoy dinner on Brown Field after a busy first day at Willamette.
  • Convocation speaker Barry Schwartz addresses a classroom of new students.
    Convocation speaker Barry Schwartz — a Swarthmore College professor and author — speaks to students during their “College Colloquium” class.
  • The entire new class of Bearcats sits in rows of chairs on the Quad facing a covered stage over which the sun sets in the west.
    Chaplain Karen Wood addresses the new Bearcats during the Matriculation Ceremony.
  • President Steve Thorsett shakes the hands of new students during the Matriculation Ceremony.
    President Steve Thorsett shakes the hands of new students during the Matriculation Ceremony.
  • ASWU President Akerah Mackey ’19 lights new students’ candles during the Matriculation Ceremony.
    ASWU President Akerah Mackey ’19 lights new students’ candles during the Matriculation Ceremony.
  • A new student releases her candle to the Mill Stream during Matriculation.
    Students release floating votives down the Mill Stream to symbolize their upcoming journeys through college.
  • Students line the Mill Stream and fill Jackson Plaza as their candles float downstream and a full moon rises over the library.
    The moon rises over the Matriculation Ceremony.
  • A student sanitizes a toy at the Center for Hope and Safety during Bearcats Give Back
    A student sanitizes a toy at the Center for Hope and Safety during Bearcats Give Back.
  • A student sanitizes a toy at the Center for Hope and Safety during Bearcats Give Back
    Students fold donated clothing at the Center for Hope and Safety during Bearcats Give Back.
  • Three students high-five one another on a volleyball court on the Quad.
    The Grass Volleyball Tournament is a weekend highlight of Opening Days.
  • five students pet a chocolate lab on the Quad
    New pets arrived with new students.
  • ASP students gather around a student who is face painting the photographer of the photo.
    Students from the American Studies Program paint faces during the Grass Volleyball Tournament.

Willamette community welcomes new students at Opening Days.

Seek intellectual virtues that refine your character and your resume.

That was the message psychologist and academic Barry Schwartz delivered to the Class of 2022 during Willamette’s convocation ceremony on Aug. 23.

Schwartz — a Swarthmore College professor and author of bestselling books including “Why We Work” — gave an impassioned defense of a liberal arts education. He said it arms students with the “quantitative ability, analytical acumen and expressive clarity” that can tackle big ideas, as well as a strong sense of morality.

Schwartz urged students to spend the next four years seeking and valuing the truth — in themselves and in others.

He said, “Small liberal arts institutions like this one provide the ideal environment for cultivating the kinds of virtues that will produce thoughtful, lifelong students who are good citizens and also good people.”

In his opening address, President Steve Thorsett said students have a bright future. The university will prepare them to be “engaged leaders and shapers of society” who “make the whole world” their campus. He also addressed their parents’ state of emotion.

“This is a time of great excitement and — yes, it’s OK to admit it — great relief,” he said. “You now have our permission to grieve or to celebrate. But rest assured, any feelings of relief at this parting are totally normal, appropriate and probably totally mutual.”

Convocation is one of the highlights of Opening Days, an exciting time for the entire Willamette community — as is evident the moment first-year students step on campus.

From the cheers of Opening Days leaders for every new student who picked up their residence halls keys to the Opening Days Kick-Off dance, the warm welcome continued throughout the week as new Bearcats got acquainted with their new home and the next chapter of their life.

“I’ve cried so much! And I had to say goodbye to my cats,” said McKenzie Potter-Moen ’22, who planned to attend theatre auditions. “But I’m excited to meet my professors and to be working in theatre.”

Move-in day can be stressful for families, but not at Willamette. At Matthews Hall, dozens of student athletes, American Studies Program students, university staff and sorority members waited curbside to help families move belongings — or any last-minute purchases from the Panhellenic Council Rummage Sale — into the residence halls.

Carrying a box into Matthews, Xavier Nix ’22, a Willamette quarterback, says he enjoyed seeing all his new peers.

He joked, “I also like seeing all the stuff they brought for their rooms so I can get ideas about what to buy for mine.”

The next day at dusk, Willamette’s newest community members gathered by the Mill Stream to mark another step in their adventure.

Following the matriculation ceremony led by Chaplain Karen Wood — who taught the members of the Class of ‘22 the Willamette motto in its original Latin — students participated in the traditional candle-lighting event. One by one, with the help of Willamette staff members and alumni, they lit their candles, placed them into the water and watched them float away — a host of flickering lights embarking on both a solitary and a communal journey into the future.

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