Multimedia Coverage by Ryan Greene, Al Drago, Lauren Cook and Patterson Huggins
"How are you going to use those 1,400 days?"
President Leo Lambert posed this question to the class of 2018, the 128th graduating class of Elon, this morning under the oaks for New Student Convocation. The newest members of the Elon community will be meeting again in just 1,365 days for graduation.
Before President Lambert spoke with the first-year students, SGA President Joe Incorvia took to the stage to introduce himself to his new peers. But first, he took a selfie.
Although the photo didn't turn out well, it didn't stop Incorvia from sharing his words of wisdom with the new Phoenix. Being a senior, Incorvia had three years of experience to share with #Elon18. He told them to "Live the Maroon Life proudly" and to take advantage of all that Elon has to offer its students, citing his study abroad opportunities and leadership positions as a way of growth.
"Your adventure begins under these oaks," Incorvia said.
As the SGA President exited the stage, the University President prepared to make his entrance. After Smith Jackson, Dean of Students and Vice President of Student Life, highlighted some of campus's newest members, Head Phoenix addressed the Class of 2018 for the first time.
Just like in years past, President Lambert had the incoming class participate in his visual "Human Bar Graph" to show them how fortunate they are to have the educational and cultural opportunities that Elon University has to offer. He encouraged the new members to "get out of their comfort zone" and meet as many people from different backgrounds as possible.
"Engage difference on campus and out in the worlds...you're going to be a better person if you try," President Lambert told the crowd.
With convocation being one of Elon's oldest ceremonies, some well-known traditions were back to welcome the Class of 2018 to their new home, one of which was a famous President Lambert quote: "You have arrived at a great banquet. For God's sake, don't make yourself a bologna sandwich."
Of course, it wouldn't be an Elon convocation without acorns. As the newest members of the Elon community filed out from under the oaks, they were given acorns that, according to President Lambert, represented the fact that every Elon student has within them everything they need to grow and become strong.
But the ceremony wasn't just for the new students: it was also for the new Elon parents.
Head Phoenix knew how many families were feeling this morning as they were preparing to head back home and leave their children to pursue their college careers.
"I can identify today with the tear in mom's eye and the lump in dad's throat."
Most Elon moms and dads will be saying goodbye to their member of the class of 2018 today at the Farewell Picnic from 12:30- 2p.m. There will be a lot of farewells in the next few days, as this is the largest incoming class campus has ever seen with approximately 1,500 students.