‘Truly life-changing experience’ begins for DePauw Class of 2022
With 591 young people arriving Friday in Greencastle, they began “a truly life-changing experience” at DePauw University.
At the traditional opening convocation Friday afternoon, President D. Mark McCoy told the new students, “We are glad you are here and we look forward to watching you grow and develop into a leader the world needs. DePauw has a long tradition of developing such leaders and we can’t wait to see your impact on the world. We want you to do great things, and we pledge to do all we can do to assist you in that.”
The program in Kresge Auditorium of the Green Center followed a busy morning on campus as the new arrivals and their families unpacked their vehicles and moved into residence halls, with big assists from DePauw staff and faculty.
The Class of 2022 comes from 33 states and 18 countries. About 31 percent of the incoming undergraduates are from outside of the Midwest.
More than 20 percent are domestic students of color, 17 percent are international students, and about 14 percent are “legacies” (who have had a relative who attended DePauw).
James G. Mills Jr., professor of geosciences, was selected by last year’s graduating class in the spring to speak to the incoming students. Mills welcomed the Class of 2022 on what he called “this first, most magnificent day of your new life.”
“Through all of this, we hope to instill in you the passion to become life-long learners so that you, as so many previous generations of DePauw graduates have, will utilize the knowledge and skills you gain both as a student and as a graduate of DePauw, to become the leaders that will shape a better, more equal, and more just society,” Mills said.
The professor noted that “these people around you are the ones that you will learn with together -- in the classroom, in your room, in your house, on the field, on and off the stage -- you will laugh together, cry, hug, argue, yell, march, dance, race, walk, love, Instagram, Snapchat, and even, maybe even, talk through the night together.
“At DePauw, you will become a family to each other.,” Mills continued. “You will become family to us. These will be very, very strong bonds that will persist through your life. These will be the four years that you will most likely compare to all others. And when you walk across that stage four years from now, you will be astounded at the change you have undergone from that person sitting in your seat here today.”
The convocation also featured remarks by Anne Harris, vice president for academic affairs; Bobby Andrews, vice president for enrollment management; Alan Hill, vice president for student academic life and a 1981 DPU graduate; Leslie Smith, executive director of alumni engagement and a 2003 grad; and senior Marianne Martinez, the DePauw student body president.
In his remarks, President McCoy stressed, “Leaders the world needs now have a well-honed ability to navigate difference. In your time at DePauw, you will not agree with every classmate, every staff member, every professor or every person you meet on this campus. TV news is full of people, every day, who don’t agree. In most cases they can’t even agree on how to disagree. This is sad. But the truth is, we need people to disagree.
“In our search for truth,” McCoy added, “we need to be able to discuss, to debate, to think and reflect. We need to learn to disagree without being disagreeable; we need to learn to attack an idea without attacking its presenter. The way we do that is to call upon our common values and I want to share with you, and ask you to reflect deeply upon, DePauw’s stated values.”
McCoy shared the values -- student focus, collaboration, curiosity, respect, diversity, inclusion, commitment to excellence, trust and integrity -- and told the new undergraduates, “We are so glad you are here. While you are here, think on these things.”
Following the convocation, the new students met with their mentor groups and were off and running as college students.
The first day of classes is Wednesday, Aug. 22.