Convocation is always an uplifting event at Franklin, a chance for freshmen and new students to gather with the university community for the first time, and an annual celebration of the start of another exciting academic year.
This year, Convocation was held on the second day of classes of the Fall 22' semester, on Tuesday, August 23, 2022.
The afternoon kicked off at 5 p.m. on the Kaletsch Campus with a student favorite, the local Gelato Truck giving out free ice cream to first-year students on the campus parking lot. Next off, students, staff, and faculty headed to the Nielsen auditorium for the ceremony.
Convocation opened with a welcome speech by Andrew Starcher, Vice President of Academic Affairs, and brief remarks by professors Johanna Fassl and Lori Montross on the concepts of magic and dreams. "A magic dwells in each beginning" are the words of Herman Hesse that Professor Fassl recited. She and Professor Montross invited all present in the auditorium to think about the magic of the moment, asking some to share their dreams for the new academic year.
"My dream is to meet wonderful people, including classmates and professors, learning from them, finding out what I'm interested in, and diving deep into different subjects." shared a student.
"The dream is to inspire all the new students I met today, keeping them stimulated and interested throughout the year, and hoping that they will carry the teaching concepts and also make a change in the future for us all." added a professor.
"I have a dream that Franklin will succeed and move forward, and that is a dream that all of us need to have, and I ask you today to share it with me," answered Kim Hildebrant, Chairman of the Board of Trustees.
Subsequently, professor Brack Hale, Interim Dean of Academic Affairs, introduced this year's Convocation keynote speaker, Franklin's President himself, Samuel Martín-Barbero, in his first official address to the whole university. President Martín-Barbero proceeded in giving an inspiring speech explaining 4 life lessons learned by his late long-time friend, mentor, and role model, Rafael, connecting them to Franklin's nature.
"Number 1, one does not travel to arrive but just to travel, and Franklin articulates this majestically through academic travels, considering life as an educational journey, a path full of meaning and self-discovery. Lesson number 2, embracing the notice that we will always be ignorant for life. There are no silly questions and one should remember to always offer simple answers. Third, trying out new things, and mixing learning, experimentation, and leisure together. I find that these are perfectly incubated in Franklin's liberal arts and sciences curriculum. Number 4 and final lesson, fighting pessimism and always seeing the glass as half full and not half empty. The wish is for each and every one of us to strive towards intellectual growth, extroversion, and becoming committed and active citizens of the world."
President Martín-Barbero concluded "I am most grateful for the privilege of becoming first your colleague and team player, only afterward your president and leader. The future for Franklin starts now, and let me say with great joy that it is our task to create a better university, to refine, remodel, and create a better version of Franklin and of ourselves, especially in these turbulent times. Are you ready to face this challenge? I am and hope you are too."
The commemoration ended with the traditional tree planting ceremony, where a fruit tree was planted on the Kaletsch Campus lawn. The tree symbolizes Franklin’s incoming students, the Class of 2026, whose roots will firmly be planted in the fertile Swiss soil of Franklin, but whose branches will spread out over the coming years to encompass the globe. A new tree equals new life, new wisdom, and new experiences.
In just four days of the first week of classes, emotions and enthusiasm have been filling the Franklin community's spirit. New students also joined the Student Involvement Fair, held at the Grotto on Kaletsch Campus on Wednesday, August 24, to learn all about student clubs, activities, and events on campus, and meet the Student Government Association and representatives of the Office of Student Life.