2014 Welcome Ceremony

Filled with enthusiasm about the promise of the Gallaudet experience before them, many of the 290 new undergraduate students comprising the University’s Class of 2014 and their families attended a welcome ceremony on August 25 in Elstad Auditorium. Not only did they receive a warm greeting, they were given a piece of basic, but essential advice that was often repeated during the evening by administrators, Undergraduate Student Orientation committee members, and upper classmen: With all the resources Gallaudet has available to ensure their success, failure is not an option.

“Do things right from the beginning,” Provost Stephen Weiner counseled the students, who range in age from 17 to 56. “If you start right you’ll end right” by earning a diploma. “You’re going to meet a lot of wonderful people, and they’re all here to help you succeed.”

The students’ next four years at Gallaudet are “the most important part of your life,” emphasized President Hurwitz. He urged them to make the most of their experience on Kendall Green, and to strive for a balance between academics and the extracurricular pursuits that the University offers through its 32 student organizations. Dr. Hurwitz introduced First Lady Vicki Hurwitz, members of his President’s Cabinet, and other key individuals whose jobs are to help students and make them feel at home on Kendall Green. He added that Gallaudet’s strong support system has contributed to its long tradition of preparing its graduates for rewarding careers.

Executive Director of Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid Charity Reedy Hines provided insights on the diversity of the Class of 2014: the class includes 16 international students and 85 transfer students from other colleges and universities, 45 attended the New Signers’ Program, 48 took part in Academic Success programs, and most of the students hail from Maryland (31)followed by California (22), Virginia (21), Texas (19), and Florida (15). Tied for sixth place are Illinois and New York (14).

Student Affairs Dean Dwight Benedict added that for the fall semester, 96 percent of freshmen reside in Benson Hall, and 74 percent of all full-time undergraduate students are living on campus. A show of hands led by Benedict revealed approximately 15 legacy students–second or third-generation descendants of Gallaudet alumni.

Benedict let the students know they made the right choice coming to Gallaudet, pointing to impressive statistics showing that 74 percent of all Gallaudet undergraduates were placed in internships–surpassing the national average of 52 percent, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers–and that 89 percent of the Class of 2008 are employed while seven percent of the class is pursuing graduate degrees.

Also greeting the new students were Dr. Catherine Andersen, associate provost; Dr. Ann Powell, interim associate provost for diversity; Edgar Palmer, associate dean for NSO Programs; and Mary Lott, director of Campus Activities and Commuter Programs. Their messages had a common theme: each of them and their staff have eagerly anticipated the students’ arrival and have the desire, the knowledge, and the resources to help them succeed and become lifelong members of the Gallaudet community.

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