A Series of Events to Mark the Beginning of the Academic Year

8/28/2015
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Dartmouth will celebrate the beginning of the academic year by introducing new students to the College community and welcoming back returning students at a series of events, including the traditional community lunch on the first day of classes, Sept. 16.

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Collis Center for Student Involvement

Dartmouth will formally mark the start of classes with a number of community gatherings. (Photo by Corinne Arndt Girouard)

President Phil Hanlon ’77 says the start of a new academic year is “one of my favorite annual events at Dartmouth. The beginning of fall term, with its myriad opportunities for learning and growth, is a time of unlimited potential.”

This year, Dartmouth will formally mark the start of classes with a number of community gatherings at which the Class of 2019 will be addressed by President Hanlon and Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Sciences Mike Mastanduno, as well as other leaders from around the institution. These gatherings will celebrate the most vital work of the institution: the teaching and learning, research, and intellectual transformation students and faculty accomplish together. There will be no formal Convocation ceremony.

“We’re going to approach the start of classes differently as we preserve what’s best about the beginning of the school year,” says Provost Carolyn Dever. “The Convocation ceremony conflicted with courses and duplicated activities for the incoming class, resulting in poor attendance. This year we’ll mark the beginning of classes with a whole series of welcoming events and ceremonial gatherings for the community at large.”

The ’19s meet for the first time as a class on Sept. 9, the first evening of orientation. Maria Laskaris ’84, the former dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, will introduce a student-written performance piece titled “Your Community, Your Class, Your Words.” The Class of 2019 will be welcomed by Hanlon, Mastanduno, and Vice Provost for Student Affairs Inge-Lise Ameer.

New this year is Dartmouth’s Citizenship Pledge, which all students will sign. 

In keeping with past years, members of the first-year class will be welcomed individually by Hanlon, who will greet them in his Parkhurst office on Sept. 15, the day before classes begin. He will talk to the students about the Academic Honor Code and the Citizenship Pledge, and emphasize that the two are pillars of the students’ membership in the Dartmouth academic community.

The incoming students will have read the new Citizenship Pledge before meeting with Hanlon, and will sign a book signifying their agreement with those principles.

The pledge, which begins, “I hold myself to the highest standards of learning, teaching, service, and scholarship. I will conduct myself with integrity, in all matters,” is part of the Moving Dartmouth Forward plan implemented by Hanlon last January.

Also, a tradition that began last year will continue—the “passing of the torch” from the most recent class of graduates to the incoming class during the twilight ceremony.

At the close of orientation, during the twilight ceremony, Chase Mertz ’15, president of the Class of 2015, will pass the torch by candlelight to the new class on the steps of Collis. The students will then walk to the Bema, lighting the way with their candles, as the Baker bells chime in the distance.

After remarks from student leaders and the singing of the “Alma Mater” and “Dartmouth Undying,” students will have the evening to settle in before classes begin the next day.