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Eckerd College
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Ceremony of Lights

Ceremony of Lights

Presentation of the Class

John F. Sullivan, Dean of Admission and Financial Aid

John F. SullivanGood Evening and welcome to Eckerd College.  Parents, Grandparents, siblings, faculty, staff and friends of Eckerd it is my distinct pleasure to welcome you here to introduce our new first year and transfer students.

We began the journey that brought us here together long ago.  In fact, the student in this class who started their college search the earliest began it nearly 4 years ago by filling out an inquiry card at a college fair held at their school on September 9, 2009 and the rest of you eventually followed.  After that, we snail mailed you, emailed you, called you, texted you, Skyped you, IM’ed you and met with you during high school visits, college fairs, and interviews held in hotel lobbies and coffee shops in your area.  Through it all we asked you to approach the college search process a bit differently.  We asked you to put aside magazine rankings and replace that method by looking for a place that fits you.  We asked you to look past the fact that there is no ivy on our buildings but to understand that serious academic work does take place while still having a little time for the beach.  We asked you to embrace our unique 4-1-4 academic calendar which starts today with Autumn Term.  Through it all we asked you to THINKOUTSIDE.

This is a day that the faculty and staff have planned for with great anticipation.  We recognize that there are a range of emotions that are being felt here today—happiness, sadness, excitement, trepidation, fear, and great confidence in knowing you made the perfect choice---for some, you have experienced all of these emotions in the last half hour!!!  It’s ok, though, those emotions are real and Autumn Term is structured to provide a thorough and gradual adjustment to college life and the academic experience.  The student activators, faculty and staff are here to assist, be sure to ask them questions and participate fully in and out of the classroom.

Members of this year’s class are an impressive group of scholars and leaders.

They have joined us from:

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Bahamas, Belgium,

California, Canada, China, Colorado, Connecticut, Democratic

Republic of the Congo, District of Columbia, Ecuador, Florida,

France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Idaho, Illinois,

India, Indiana, Italy, Iowa, Japan, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana,

Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mexico, Michigan, Minnesota,

Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey,

New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon,
Pennsylvania, Philippines, Rhode Island, Romania, Singapore,

South Carolina, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan,

Tennessee, Texas, Trinidad and Tobago, United Kingdom, Utah,

Vermont, Virgin Islands, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and


This geographic diversity is a distinctive factor of the Eckerd College experience.  In fact, the average distance the new students traveled to attend Eckerd is 1009 miles.

Your strength of character, your commitment to others and your approach to becoming an educated person will enrich you and Eckerd in numerous ways.  We look forward to your contributions and to your membership in our community.

Would the new students please rise?

President Eastman, Deans Harrison, Felice, and Annarelli, Student Body President Brady O'Donnell, faculty and staff, it is my great honor to present the newest members of the Eckerd College community.

Ceremony of Lights 2013

Friday, August 9, 2013
5:30 p.m.

McArthur Gymnasium