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Some members of the U of M Marching Band playing their instruments along an aisle in Northrop Auditorium.

Members of the Marching Band entertained the freshmen who gathered for convocation with their instruments and cadenced shouts in Northrop Auditorium.

Band, Bruininks, and banter bedazzle new freshmen

The Class of 2009 gets an introduction to life at the University

By Deane Morrison

Published on September 7, 2005

Thousands of college careers got off to a rousing start in Northrop Memorial Auditorium Tuesday afternoon as President Bruininks, ably assisted by the University of Minnesota Marching Band and other speakers and entertainers, welcomed the Class of 2009 to the Twin Cities campus. Waiting for Convocation to begin, one could sense the freshmen's spirit of excitement and anticipation. "I think it's nice the U is doing this for us--making freshmen feel they're part of the University," said Megan Gorzalski from Grafton, Wisconsin. "I'm excited because the University seems to be pretty in tune with students," added Sarah Carns, also from Grafton. The event opened as an academic procession of University faculty, regents, and other dignitaries wound their way to the stage, outfitted in a dazzling array of red, blue, and black gowns, to music by University organist Dean Billmeyer. Erik Dussault from the Student Activities Office warmed up the crowd for speaker Sarah Solfelt, a former University swimmer and 2005 honors graduate of the Carlson School of Management, who urged the freshmen to "get active and make a difference." Lisa Pugh, a freshman in the College of Natural Resources, represented the Class of 2009 with a talk that reminded the new students of how much they had gone through to get where they were. In his address, Bruininks acknowledged the tragedy "at the other end of the Mississippi River" and noted that at least 30 students displaced by Hurricane Katrina will come to the University to study. He encouraged the freshmen to reach out to those displaced and dispossessed, and to seek out chances to grow such as the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program. He asked the students to open envelopes they had been given; inside each was a tassel. "The tassel says we hold an aspiration for you that you will all graduate," said Bruininks, adding that a four-year stay at the University would be ideal. Faculty representative Dan Kelliher from the political science department drew laughs as he told the freshmen to get to know faculty members.

Hurricane causes postponement of Morris convocation

Due to the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina, Louisiana governor Kathleen Blanco has postponed her appearance at the University of Minnesota, Morris, convocation. She was originally scheduled to be the Visiting Scholar and speaker for the First Year Seminar opening convocation at 7 p.m. Wednesday, August 31. Plans to reschedule the event with Blanco are under consideration.

"Some people could not teach a ball how to run down a hill," he said. "So ask everyone you know who the best teachers are, and take their courses." Next up was Marching Band director Tim Diem, who introduced drum major Dick Osterberg. At a summons from Osterberg's whistle, the 312 band members burst through the doors from the foyer. Down the seven aisles of Northrop they marched, percussion and cadenced shouts filling the hall. Osterberg, aided by the Marching Band brass quintet, proceeded to teach the freshmen the must-know classics "Hail! Minnesota" and, of course, the "Rouser." In the orchestra pit, featured twirler Aimee Barmore tossed the baton higher and higher as she showed the crowd how it's done. After the musical performances, the freshmen followed the band to Coffman Union for food and more entertainment. "The band was amazing," said freshman Cody Bonk of Columbus, Nebraska. "I look forward to seeing them at a game." Don't we all.

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