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"A Remarkably Talented Group of Students" is Welcomed to DePauw on Opening Day 2014

August 23, 2014

"Act out of possibility. Never act willfully out of fear," DePauw President Brian W. Casey advised the 540 new students who arrived at the University today. He added, "Consider the possibility that no one will care about your missteps -- or even, frankly, notice them, as much as you do. Read the fine print. Read as many books as you can. Show up. And, please, call your parents," he added to laughter from the capacity crowd.

Dr. Casey addressed the Class of 2018 and their families at the traditional opening convocation, which was held this afternoon in the Green Center for the Performing Arts, Kresge Auditorium.

Members of the entering class bring with them the strongest academic profile in the University’s history, selected from a record number of applications.  The Class of 2018 boasts an average high school GPA above a 3.8 and an average ACT score of 28.

"You are a remarkably talented group of students," President Casey stated. "By every measure, you have achieved extraordinarily in the years leading up to this moment. All of you." He added, "Know that we are thrilled every one of you are here, and that we wanted you here because we know you have the potential to learn."

The day started with the new students, with help from their families and upperclassmen, moving into their residence halls.  Their greeting from the University's nineteenth president noted, "DePauw faculty members have welcomed new students to this campus for 178 years. Students have walked the same pathways around East College for decades. Students have come here and have learned here and have been changed here. It is the rhythm of this place. This is the rhythm of which you, as guardians, are now part.

"So here you are at a very old college, sitting in front of a faculty. And what this faculty expects of you is a great, great deal. And what this faculty understands is --- that although the bar of expectations is high --- you can actually reach it. You might not go straight up to get there – you are likely to have twists and turns and stumbles and challenges. But you’ll get there."

Anne T. Harris, professor of art and art history, was selected by last year's senior class to address the new students at the opening convocation.

"Every one of you here today brings something to the table," she said, "your experiences, your curiosities, your questions and your differences. No one comes empty-handed; everyone has something to offer.  Do so gladly. Talk willingly. Listen to each other. Strive towards the lines of poetry, equations, molecular models, dilemmas, paintings, marvels of botany, miracles of music, and models of social justice and struggle that your professors share with you. And let the table do its work, let it bring you closer together and closer to knowledge that was only a faint outline before. Come to the table with every expectation of being transformed by what you will experience there."

"I know I speak for the entire student body when I say that we want you to share your ideas, your experiences, and your stories with us," DePauw senior and student body president Cody Watson '15 told the new students. "We want you to challenge us on the field, in the classroom, and in the rehearsal hall, just as we will challenge you."

Watson added, "DePauw is a place where you will be challenge to think critically, to read diligently, and to actively engage in meaningful discussions about everything around you. DePauw is a place where you can see the byproduct of hard work on a daily basis. DePauw is a place where you can realize your dreams. DePauw is all of these things, but most importantly it is not just an institution that we attend for four years and then leave without ever looking back. DePauw is my home, the home of 1,800 of my peers, and now it is your home."

The new students and their families also heard from Larry Stimpert, vice president for academic affairs; Christopher Wells, vice president for student life; and Brent St. John '89, president of the DePauw Alumni Association. Today's program concluded with a singalong performance of A Toast to DePauw by Vivien Bard, a member of the University's Class of 1917.

Learn more about the Class of 2018 here.

Classes for the 2014-15 academic year begin Wednesday.

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