Franklin’s traditional Convocation Ceremony was held on Wednesday, September 8, welcoming new students and celebrating the start of the new 2021-2022 academic year. This ceremonial gathering is a chance to kick off new students' academic journey at Franklin, while coming together as a community of staff, faculty, and students in affirming the university’s mission and values.

Because of the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, the event was spread out through most of the afternoon whilst following social distancing measures and mask-wearing requirements. It opened with a socially distanced ice-cream offer on Kaletsch campus, where a "gelato" truck served yummy ice-cream cones to new students.

Following this delectable moment, the celebration moved indoors to the Auditorium where President Dr. Greg Warden inaugurated the beginning of the 2021-2022 Academic Year. Dr. Andrew Starcher, Vice President of Academic Affairs, next introduced this year's Convocation speaker, Andrè Naffis-Sahely, author and poet, with both Italian and Iranian ancestry. Mr. Naffis-Sahely read some of his most acclaimed poetry while sharing his personal experiences in growing up as part Italian, part Iranian, but living in the UAE, and how this inspired him into making writing his legacy.  

Shortly after 7 p.m., the traditional tree ceremony was held, where a sapling was planted in the Kaletsch campus garden. Planting trees has been an important part of Convocation for several years, symbolizing Franklin's proud past, the passion for learning, the academic excellence, and bodes well for the longevity of the Franklin community. 

"Convocation is my favorite ceremony at Franklin because it is a fresh start and the opening of a new academic year. The tree-planting symbolizes the knowledge process - water and sunshine support the growth just like our students learning in and outside of the classroom as they design their own Franklin experience! The gelato reminds us of how sweet the learning process can be." said Deborah Knaust, Dean of Student Life and Engagement.

For more information on upcoming events, check the Franklin App  (for Android or iPhone) or the University Calendar. For more information on campus safety measures check the Coronavirus Information and Updates page.