Thousands of incoming freshmen and transfer students filled the Bren Events Center on the morning of Sept. 29 to attend their convocation and start their college life as official anteaters.
Newly appointed UC Irvine Chancellor Howard Gillman led the convocation for the incoming class of 2018. The convocation is the first event during welcome week for incoming freshmen and transfer students and acts as an official orientation after SPOP (Student Parent Orientation Program). The convocation gave the incoming class an opportunity to see the head administrators for the first time.
“Hello everyone, my name is Howard Gillman and I have been your Chancellor for a whole five days. Right now, we mark the moment you are now a college student at one of the world’s greatest universities, the University of California, Irvine,” Gillman announced to the incoming class to mark the beginning of their college careers.
The ceremony marked both the first public address that Gillman has given to the student body as Chancellor and the official beginning of the school year for the incoming class.
The class of 2018 was one of the largest in UC Irvine’s history, as was made apparent during the ceremony due to a lack of seating. At various points during the first half of the ceremony, every hallway was crowded by students who could not find seating. Employees of the Bren Events Center worked to keep the hall and stairways clear of students.
According to Gillman’s speech over 83,000 potential students—freshmen and transfers—applied to UC Irvine; ultimately, only a small percentage would ultimately be accepted.
“We picked you, the very best, so that we can do the serious and important work that brings us together, provides you an education that is worthy of your talent and your promise.”
According to the Office of Admissions, 23,573 students were accepted. According to Gillman, the decisions of who to ultimately accept were not easy for Admissions due to the sheer number of applicants.
“We learned your story, we learned your accomplishments, we heard about your ambitions, and in the end we decided over tens of thousands of others–yeah, you have the qualities, you have the talent, you have the drive, you have the character and we want every one of you,” he said.
Gillman stressed that a class as diverse and talented as the future class of 2018 should not be content with their efforts thus far, and should always strive to get the most out of every opportunity they get.
“The point of higher education is not just to get you a credential. There are plenty of credentials you can acquire, and it’s not just to let you develop a discrete set of useful skills, which is easy to do on your own,” Gillman said.
“We have built this campus and we have assembled this amazing, dedicated faculty because human beings only reach their full potential when they are broadly educated, when they are exposed to the best that has ever been thought or created or discovered and when they become discerning about the competing claims they encounter in their lives.”
The various speakers at the convocation praised the efforts and achievements of the audience for their work in getting into UC Irvine, including Associated Students of UC Irvine (ASUCI) President Reza Zomorrodian.
“You all have been selected from the most competitive students in the world to have a seat here today,” Zomorrodian said.
“Now, let me be clear: you have to work hard, you really have to work hard and struggle for what you want at such a large school with so many talented peers,” he said. However, according to Zomorrodian, this only makes the ultimate success many will achieve more satisfying.
“This should be all our desire: to leave this institution better than how we found it, through our pursuit to shape the time we have here and always remain ambitious.”