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First-Year Convocation welcomes class of 2023

Administrators welcomed incoming freshmen to Texas Woman’s University this week with the annual first-year convocation ceremony. Several speakers offered the new students advice and encouragement for starting their first year, as well as introduced them to various TWU traditions.

The convocation began after Thursday’s Pioneer Camp for the freshmen. A processional song played as the speakers and faculty made their way to the stage and to their seats, bearing with them the Mace of the university. The audience and speakers all stood and sang the first stanza of the National Anthem and then took their seats as speeches began.

“What the experience at Texas Woman’s University will give you is the opportunity to develop your strengths and set your goals, as well as equip you with the tools to achieve them,” Dr. Carine Feyten, TWU’s chancellor, said in her speech.

Students gather to take photos in front of the statue of Minerva during the Pioneer Picnic at the Texas Woman’s University in Denton, Texas, on Aug. 22, 2019. Photo by Amber Gaudet.

The ceremony, which was held in the Margo Jones Performance Hall, featured several university administrators and student leaders including Chancellor Feyten, the Vice President for Student Life Dr. Monica Mendez-Grant and the Provost and Vice President for Student Life  Dr. Carolyn Kapinus.

“College is a time of intellectual and personal growth,” said Kapinus. “The diversity of people, opinions, and experience that surround you will help foster the expansion of your horizons.”

Feyten also encouraged the new students to take advantage of the university’s resources, such as the Write Site, to succeed academically during their first semester. 

“Embrace the journey, including the challenges,” said Feyten. “This is a great journey.”

As they entered the auditorium, student workers handed all attending first year students a gift box that they were instructed to open together during the speech of student regent Lexi D’Abrosca. Each box contained a convocation ring, inscribed with both the year of the school’s founding, 1901, and the year 2019, the year they will be starting their college career at TWU. 

As the ceremony closed, all stood to sing the Alma Mater, and a recessional song played as students and faculty alike left the auditorium.

A balloon marks the entrance to the music building during the First Year Convocation at the Texas Woman’s University in Denton, Texas, on Aug. 22, 2019. Photo by Amber Gaudet.

Following the ceremony, students were invited to join the Pioneer Picnic on the lawn. In front of the statue of Minerva, the letters “TWU” were formed out of maroon and white balloons, and a number of tables were set out in the area for students to sit at while they ate.

“[The convocation] helped calm my nerves more,” Caylin Flemons, incoming freshman and dental hygiene major, said of the convocation ceremony.

According to Kyle Voyles, Executive Director of the Center for Student Development and one of the organizers of the event, the ceremony is intended to familiarize first year students with academic traditions on campus.

“TWU is not your destination,” Mendez-Grant said in her closing speech. “TWU is the journey, the bridge to your destination, your future. TWU can provide any number of opportunities for you, but it’s your level of engagement that’s going to determine your college experience.”

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