August 23, 2019
On a rainy Friday morning, first-year students, one day after moving into their residence halls, gathered in Bomberger Hall—as is Ursinus tradition—for one of their first official acts together as a class.
Pop songs of the mid-1990s blared through the speakers to applause and laughter as Meghan Brodie ’00, an assistant professor of theater, recalled her time as an Ursinus student and provided the new class with some perspective in a speech framed by the four questions of the core curriculum.
“What matters to me continues to change as my worldview gets bigger … I encourage you to try to understand what makes you uncomfortable, what seems foreign and what resonates with you and why,” Brodie said.
“You’re here because we believe in you and what you have to offer. We aren’t interested in cookie-cutter students,” she said.
President Brock Blomberg recognized the significance of the class—one of the largest in Ursinus history—as one that will help the college celebrate its sesquicentennial year.
“Beginning right now,” he said, “We’re celebrating our 150th birthday, kicking off an entire year that will acknowledge a proud history of academic excellence and leadership in the liberal arts. That means that today we’re celebrating 150 years of students arriving here on this campus to begin their journey to the yet-unknown future –just as you are today. And, as you are one of our largest and most academically talented first-year classes, I can’t think of a better group to help get that celebration started.”
Haley Sturla ’20, president of Ursinus College Student Government, spoke to the meaning behind the Ursinus colors: red, old gold and black. Referring to “old gold,” she said, “The name of this color has always been a little ironic to me. Because while our school has a very long history, our values are constantly being re-evaluated and defined. As a person, you will grow into your values. You will begin to understand and embrace the things that make you, you. And as a community, our values will grow with us.”
The annual ceremony also honored this year’s winner of the first-year advising award, Ryan Walvoord, an assistant professor of chemistry. The award is given to a nominated faculty member who represents the best in first-year advising, according to their students and peers.
Convocation concluded with a tradition of the students walking through a “gauntlet” of faculty and staff cheering for them and wishing them well on their new Ursinus journey.
“This is an exciting, vibrant place,” Blomberg said. “Make the most of your opportunity. It will be the people that you meet and the lessons you learn that will be the most important aspects of your education.”