A spirited welcome at Induction 2013
Ryan McNutt - September 5, 2013
Hundreds of Dal’s newest students had just walked through a torrential downpour to get to the Dalhousie Arts Centre, but from the wall-shaking volume of their cheers, they weren’t going to let a little rain get in the way of school spirit.
“D-D-D-A-L, H-H-H-O-U, S-S-S-I-E, DAL-DAL-DALHOUSIE!” they chanted, over and over.
As you might expect from the official welcome to Dal’s scholarly community, the Induction ceremony is somewhat more formal than much of orientation week. Regardless, in both Halifax and, for the first time, in Truro, Dal students came with boisterous enthusiasm in tow.
At the Halifax ceremony on Tuesday, they cheered wildly as DSU President Sagar Jha performed an original slam poem about all the life lessons he learned in math class. (It included puns on everything from cosines to hypotenuses.) And, whenever prompted, the students readily waved their “Dalhousie” scarves in the air, creating a wave of black and gold that flowed through the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium.
DSU Vice-President Student Life Danny Shanahan snaps a crowd shot. (Danny Abriel photo)
The students weren’t the only ones keen on the fashion accessories.
“It doesn’t feel right to do this without one of those scarves,” said Dal President Richard Florizone before starting his keynote address. “Can someone throw me one up?”
Although he’s been president since July, Dr. Florizone won’t be formally installed until October, meaning he’s not yet able to wear his Dal presidential robes in official ceremony. (As per academic custom, he wore the maroon-adorned robes of his PhD alma mater, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.) The crowd cheered as he threw the borrowed Dalhousie scarf around his neck, embracing the university colours.
(Actually, students near the front of the room may have noticed that the scarf wasn’t Dr. Florizone’s only piece of black-and-gold attire: you could occasionally catch a glimpse of his O-Week wristband, which he’s been wearing all week after dropping by the registration table to chat with new students this past Sunday.)
Dr. Florizone speaking at the Halifax ceremony. (Danny Abriel photo)
The gesture — sporting the same scarf as the students — reflected one of the keynote’s themes: in his own way, Dr. Florizone is something of a first-year himself.
“This is your first semester at Dalhousie; mine too,” he told the crowd. Acknowledging that students can often feel anxious about starting their studies, he offered his reassurances: “You and I have made a great choice in Dalhousie.”
Video: Watch Dr. Florizone's Induction speech in full
His speech took students through a tour of the community they’re joining — from faculty to staff to their fellow students — assuring the crowd how committed everyone at Dal is to their success. He then offered students two pieces of advice: to not forget to “feed the whole self” by exploring opportunities outside of their studies, and to embrace what he called “the life of the mind.”
“You are entering a new intellectual environment, where professors will expect you to think more deeply and thoroughly than you ever have before,” he explained. “It will be hard work, but if you embrace this opportunity I promise this first semester will be among the most transformative experiences of your life.”
He finished the speech with the advice of the Roman poet Horace: “Begin, be bold, and venture to be wise.”
Welcoming students in Truro
Dr. Florizone also addressed new students in Truro at the Agricultural Campus’ first Dal induction ceremony on Wednesday. At that ceremony, however, keynote duties fell to David Gray, the campus’ principal and dean of the Faculty of Agriculture.
In some ways, the keynote shared a similar tone: this is, after all, Dr. Gray’s first semester at Dalhousie as well. His primary message, though, was woven through the story of Larry Walters, a Los Angeles resident who in 1982 infamously turned his aluminum lawn chair into a hot air balloon and flew 5 kilometres into the air — and into LAX’s approach corridor. His response when asked why he did it? “You can’t just sit there and watch life pass by as a spectator.”
David Gray delivering his keynote address at the Agricultural Campus' Induction ceremony. (Nick Pearce photo)
“It’s the spirit that counts here,” said Dr. Gray. “The time may be long, the vehicle may be just a bit strange or unexpected. But if the dream is held close to the heart, and imagination is applied to what ever is close at hand, everything is possible and we can all achieve whatever we put our minds to.”
The Agricultural Campus' Induction ceremony. (Nick Pearce photo)
At the Induction Ceremony, two pledges are performed. The first, the Dalhousie University Pledge, is taken by the students, after which the University Pledge is taken by the faculty and staff present as part of the Academic Procession.
Dalhousie University Pledge:
Today, each of you takes your place as a member of the Dalhousie University scholarly community—a community with two centuries of proud tradition, scholarly excellence and academic achievement. Will you as Dalhousie University students promise to uphold and protect the integrity, good character and scholarly legacy of Dalhousie University? (Response: "I will.)
Today, as each of you stand, you commit yourselves to the academic success of your students in the lifelong learning process. Will you, as Dalhousie University faculty and staff, promise to provide students with an enriched educational experience; with academic challenge through active and collaborative interactions; and with a supportive and engaging campus environment? (Response: "I will.)
comments powered by Disqus