- By Tom Weaver
Over the summer, the UVM Class of 2016 shared the experience of reading This I Believe, the collection of essays spun-off from the popular National Public Radio series. On Sunday, August 26, they gathered in Patrick Gymnasium for their first shared experience in person, Convocation 2012, the traditional academic year kick-off/welcome ceremony.
As the new students filled the bleachers, a sea of color with all dressed in their residence hall “team” t-shirts, slides with members of the UVM community sharing their beliefs flashed on the screen behind the stage. To quote a few of these beliefs: “co-existence,” “my brothers,” “fun times,” “Jesus,” “rock and roll,” “long-distance relationships,” “taking a chance,” “good karma,” and “pretty much everything.”
Addressing the students, new UVM President Tom Sullivan noted the “first-year” experience that he shares with the Class of 2016. Sullivan’s comments were full of UVM history and points of pride—from being the first university in the United States founded on principles of religious tolerance to the legacy of alumnus John Dewey to the work of Nobel Laureate Jody Williams, Class of ’72. Williams, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 for her leadership of the International Campaign to Ban Land Mines, is among the essayists in This I Believe.
Following convocation in the gym, the evening continued with the march down Main Street, Taiko Drummers pounding out a rhythm, and the candlelight induction on the Green.