Dean Lloyd Chapin's Remarks
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Vice President and Dean of Faculty
August 16, 2004
For many years, the Ceremony of Lights has opened the academic year as a way to celebrate the entrance of new students and their families into the Eckerd community. But this year's ceremony is unique because it is informed by our shared sense of gratitude that we and the college have been spared from the fury of Hurricane Charley. Let us begin tonight with a moment of silence for our less fortunate neighbors as they mourn their dead and begin to start their lives over in the wake of the storm. And let us remember them and our own blessings as we stand and sing together, accompanied by Director of Choral Music, Marion Smith, of God's Amazing Grace.
On behalf of Eckerd College, it is my pleasure and privilege to welcome the class of 2008 as well as those of you who are parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, other relatives and friends.
Or to put it more bluntly, you made it and we're glad you did.
You came from far and near, some from the other side of the globe, others from the south side of St. Petersburg, and everywhere in between. In every case, it's good to have you here on campus. You are, after all, our reason for being.
Those of you who are members of the class of 2008 have already received your medallion as you entered. In the moments to follow, you will be welcomed and recognized by others in our community including our president, Donald Eastman.
We know you have had a long day, a long weekend, and may feel somewhat fatigued, moving belongings, standing in lines, meeting new faces, learning new names, searching for unfamiliar locations.
But this sense of strangeness and newness and even fatigue will not last long. In a day or two those of you who are students will feel quite at home and invigorated. In fact, by the time the other students return, you will feel as if you own the place.
We want you to feel at home, that you have come to the right place, that you are among friends. We also have high hopes and expectations for you.
Eckerd's Autumn Term is unique in that it brings first year students together as a class, turns the campus over to them, and gives them three weeks to adjust to the opportunities, expectations, and patterns of college life - both academically and socially.
Some of the friendships that you make during Autumn Term will last a lifetime. We hope that the education that begins here will also serve you for a lifetime, and serve you well.
You are already learning that your faculty mentor will play an important role in your life here. I have always liked what one student had to say about his mentor:
"She saw more in me than I saw in myself. She got more out of me than I knew I had to give."
This is our goal as members of the faculty: to help you discover more in yourself than you knew was there; to accomplish more than you thought you could.
Tonight you embark together on one of life's great and best adventures. We of the faculty are privileged to share it with you and we extend a warm welcome.