The 1,584 students encompassing Elon University's Class of 2021 gathered “Under the Oaks” for New Student Convocation Saturday morning.
The ceremony started with a procession of professors followed by University Chaplain Jan Fuller offering an Invocation. Afterwards, SGA Executive President and senior Morgan Bodenarian welcomed all parents and students to this year's convocation. She detailed her struggles and triumphs at Elon, telling freshmen not to waste "the best four years" of their lives.
Jon Dooley, vice president for Student Life and Randy Williams, associate vice president for Campus Engagement, then introduced the Class of 2021. They highlighted three freshmen who bring a wide variety of accomplishments to Elon. Provost Steven House and Amy Johnson, director of the Elon Core Curriculum then introduced faculty.
Elon President Leo Lambert then gave his last Presidential Address in his position. He began his speech with a tradition — a human bar graph of the new students. He gave scenarios, telling students to stand up or down to portray poverty and lack of education in other countries. Lambert said they are fortunate to be a student at Elon University — or any university — because it isn’t guaranteed.
He ended his address by telling the Class of 2021 to make the most of their Elon education. After the recessional, students walked through faculty and staff members and picked up their acorns a tradition that symbolizes the beginning of their college experience.
"As your president, I want to advise you — have a great time, but don't be foolish," Lambert said. “We live in a divided country. I am counting on you...listen deeply, engage respectfully and make arguments based on reason."