Chancellor Venkat Reddy, Provost Tom Christensen and Student Government Association President Aidan Meadows celebrated more than 1850 members of the first-year class at the annual convocation ceremony, which marks the official beginning of students’ undergraduate careers.
New this year, students tuned into the virtual ceremonies from their Gateway Program Seminar classes, split between Aug. 20 and 21.
“Today, you officially begin your UCCS career,” Provost Christensen told students. “It may look a little different than you expected. But today remains a momentous day.”
In his remarks, Chancellor Reddy shared memories of the start of his own academic journey.
“I know this school year looks different than what you were hoping for,” Reddy told students. “We’ve never had a year like this one. Our first-year students have never had to wear face coverings while getting to know each other, or socially distance during orientation.”
“There is a great deal of uncertainty in all of our lives. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we live and learn. But I commend you for your resilience in showing up for yourself and your future regardless.”
Reddy also asked students to remember what brought them to UCCS in the first place: their hopes for the future. He directed students to write down their goals and aspirations on a virtual dream board – whether they are serious, silly or a mixture of both.
Above all, the Chancellor encouraged students to intentionally create community with their peers and support systems at UCCS. As he reflected on the start of his own academic journey, which took him from India to the United States in pursuit of higher education, Reddy shared that he sees himself in each of UCCS’ first-year students.
“I did not succeed in earning my master’s degree, or my doctorate degree, at Penn State alone,” Reddy said. “I leaned on my family. I leaned on my friends. Their strength gave me strength, and that helped me succeed.”
“What I discovered then, and during this extraordinarily challenging time, is that distance does not matter. We are capable of forming connections despite it. And the connections we make with those around us are the most important things in our life.”
Finally, Reddy challenged students to do their part to Protect the Pride.
“I urge you to remember to be patient, kind and compassionate towards yourself, as well as others,” Reddy said. “Do your part to Protect the Pride. You have a responsibility not just to yourself, but to your university, to make sure that we can continue to offer on-campus experiences. It will take all of our efforts to prevail these unprecedented times.”
Meadows concluded the ceremonies by reciting the UCCS Creed to students. The UCCS Creed embodies the collective values of UCCS students – purpose, respect, integrity, determination and excellence – while promoting a positive campus culture.
And Chancellor Reddy spoke for all of campus in his closing remarks: “To the newest members of the UCCS community, congratulations – and welcome to the Mountain Lion Family!”
Convocation marked a highlight of the welcome week for new students, Clyde’s Kickoff. As the week wraps up on Saturday, Aug. 22, DisOrientation Week will officially begin, featuring an outdoor concert, arts and crafts, world famous “dating doctor” David Coleman and more. To learn more about these events and others, visit Mountain Lion Connect.