University of Vermont

Ceremonial Events - Convocation

Welcome Seth Bowden

Convocation 2006 Welcome
Seth Bowden, President of the Student Government Association

When I was first contacted in regards to speaking at convocation, I was informed that this was an opportunity to express the excitement of the new school year; to act as a proverbial cheerleader to help kick off the start of the fall semester. Unfortunately, due to some scheduling conflicts, I was unable to choreograph President Fogel and Governor Douglas into performing a pyramid for you all, however, I’ll certainly do my utmost to aid in the gathering and renewal of the academic community, as Dan eloquently described this event a few years ago.

I actually entered this university coming from overseas, having spent a number of years living in New Zealand. Having spent the last five years wearing a tie and going to an all boys’ high school, I was pretty much just thrilled at the concept of “co-ed” and not having to wear leather shoes and knee high socks, but the palpable excitement of everyone moving in that first year was enough to get anyone animated at this new chapter in our lives. For all of our incoming students, I’m sure you’re feeling exactly the same way. Everything is new; and almost as importantly, it’s all yours. Being here provides you the medium through which you can determine what you want to study; what ends up being so interesting is finding out the ways in which you can grow.

For all of the incoming students, our UVM class of 2010, this year is going to be an opportunity to meet the people who will shape the rest of your life. Every corridor you walk down in the dorms is filled with the next leaders, athletes, and scholars of our generation. And the funny thing is, you never know who it’s going to be. My freshman year roommate packed everything that he owned with socks; literally hundreds of pairs of socks, and despite this somewhat inauspicious entry, this past year he has returned from study abroad experiences that have set up an opportunity for economic advising to the Government of Chile.

For those students who are returning, welcome back. You already know what you’re getting yourself in for; our excitement is fueled by what lies beyond, and by reconnecting with our friends. To many of you, I’m sure that this place is starting to feel like home; you know not to study on the first floor of library but you do it anyway to procrastinate writing an orgo lab, you can locate the cleanest bathroom in any building, and you’ve already scheduled your classes around what promises this year to be a championship broomball team.

UVM has always been dynamic in composition: in a single day you can debate whether the skiing in Jackson is better than Breckenridge with the Ski & Snowboard club, buy a gourmet grilled cheese sandwich from UVM FeelGood and help fight world hunger, and top it off with hearing Barak Obama speak. This dynamic nature is continuing to grow: with the development of University Heights and upgrades to a number of our residential dormitories, we have more students this year than ever before. The opportunity for getting to know a diverse group of students from all over the country and world has never been greater. Soon the Davis Student Center will open, and though it is occurring at the end of my tenure, I’m happy to have helped in developing a common ground in which students will be able to meet each other with a whole new sense of community.

For this, the start of our academic year, take a moment to think about what this year can do and mean for you:

Ducunt volentum fata, nolentum trahunt.
Fate leads those who are willing. The unwilling it drags

Let’s all make sure this year is one of new beginnings, and cherished traditions.

Last modified August 30 2006 08:03 PM

Contact UVM © 2018 The University of Vermont - Burlington, VT 05405 - (802) 656-3131