Remarks from Presidents Henry William Andrew Hanson (1923-1952) and Janet Morgan Riggs ’77 (2009-2019) to new students
Be curious. Work hard. Explore new opportunities and new ideas. Be proud of who you are and celebrate what you’ve accomplished. And above all else, take the time to really engage in this space, this community, and these people.
This was the foundation of advice 760 first-year and 14 transfer students received during Wednesday’s Convocation ceremony, after they spent the morning moving into their residence halls.
These students were greeted by over 200 volunteers who helped them move into their new space and welcome them into our community.
During the ceremony, students heard from Provost Christopher Zappe, Religious Studies Prof. Megan Sijapati, Student Orientation Coordinator Rebekah Hurwitz ’19, and President Janet Morgan Riggs ’77. They also matriculated into the College and processed through Penn Hall to symbolize the beginning of their academic experience here.
“Your best preparation for the life you will live after you graduate from Gettysburg is to embrace the diverse learning experiences that await you throughout the next four years,” said Zappe. His advice spanned the curricular and co-curricular experience, encouraging students to get out of their comfort zone, work hard, and ask for help when they need it.
Sijapati shared highlights from her own educational experience and the educational experience of her students, with insight about how to excel academically.
“The most successful students are not always those who have made the best grades, but those who have remained curious, and particularly about how to make their communities, and the world, a better place for others,” Sijapati said. “Follow your curiosity into the classroom, into faculty offices and into your co-curricular organizations and service in the local community. Let it animate your studies, your conversations, and your actions.”
All of the speakers also addressed a common theme of engaging with new people, new perspectives, and new ways of thinking—especially when you disagree with someone.
“I encourage you take every opportunity to get to know those who come from different backgrounds. . . Spend time with those who are different from you. Share your views and opinion. Agree with one another sometimes and disagree with civility at other times," Riggs said. "Living out those values can be hard work, especially when we disagree. But this is one of the hills that we expect you to climb here at Gettysburg—and it can be a very gratifying hike as you learn from someone who has a different perspective."
View photos from Move-In Day and Opening Convocation below or on Flickr and check out video coverage of the day above.