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.