Community values, class identity, and College history were the central themes during the Aug. 22-25 orientation for the Class of 2017. Students took part in social and academic centered programs including discussions of the summer reading assignment, In the Shadow of Man by Jane Goodall.
President Alison Byerly led the Convocation opening the 182nd academic year. In her remarks, she described some of the themes she had heard in talking with new students.
“Nearly all of you…spoke of…that indefinable sense of connectedness that made you feel at home when visiting the campus and talking with other students. With students from so many different parts of the country and world here, that sense of belonging has less to do with obvious similarities in background than with shared traits and values. Your choice affirms an affinity.”
Convocation featured new traditions: All students were invited to attend, the speakers highlighted aspects of the College’s history, and the sword of the Marquis de Lafayette— held in the College archives—was celebrated as a “symbol of the power of the Lafayette legacy.”
It was presented to the College in 1932 by the Baroness Monica von Militz. “In choosing to ‘return’ this sword to Lafayette by giving it to Lafayette College,” said Byerly, “she affirmed the success of the College’s self-created identity. We had become the heirs of Lafayette.”
Beginning with this year’s Commencement, a member of the graduating class will be chosen to hold the sword. “In this way, we invite you all to…seize when you enter the opportunities this college offers and seize when you depart the responsibilities that come along with that education you are privileged to receive,” said Byerly.