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Feature

Faculty marching in the academic procession during New Student Convocation.

New Student Convocation is a chance for freshmen to catch more than 100 faculty members in full academic regalia.

Welcoming new students

By Pauline Oo

From eNews, September 2, 2004

It's the first day of school and thousands of freshmen and transfer students on the Twin Cities campus are in Northrop Memorial Auditorium clapping along and singing "Hail! Minnesota" and the "Minnesota Rouser." If they don't learn the school songs by heart at New Student Convocation, that's OK. They would have at least learned to recognize it--and Bob Bruininks, as well.

President Bruininks will welcome the Class of 2008 at New Student Convocation on Tuesday, September 7, at 4:30 p.m. in Northrop Auditorium. For most of the new students, this event offers them their first glimpse at the man who leads their university. In addition to remarks from Bruininks and several University faculty and staff, the students will feast their eyes on a colorful academic procession and a splendiferous performance by the 300-member Minnesota Marching Band. More than 100 faculty members dressed to the nines in velvet-or full academic regalia-will march in the procession, which will flow across Northrop mall into the auditorium.

Convocation began as the "Freshman Welcome" in 1926, but it was discontinued in 1969 amid rising activism and sinking campus spirit. In 1998, the official student welcome was renewed. Its goal remains the same-to invoke a sense of pride and add to the overall student experience at the U. Over the past decade, the University has placed special emphasis on the first-year experience by reintroducing convocation, reorganizing orientation for students and parents, and offering freshman seminars and the Student Excellence in Academics and Multiculturalism program, which helps to ensure that students of color succeed in their first year.

Following the official welcome in Northrop, the new students will be treated to a free dinner and more festivities at Coffman Memorial Union.

To learn more about the University's efforts to enhance the first-year experience for students, read "Transforming the Freshman Experience" in M, spring 2003. For more information about the U's orientation and first-year programs, see www.ofyp.umn.edu.

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