Commencement tradition continues with class of 2017

The class of 2017 will come together at the annual New Student Convocation on August 25 at 4 p.m. to celebrate a new beginning as students at Seton Hall.

According to Vice President of Student Services Dr. Tracy Gottlieb, this ceremony “is as much a tradition as commencement” and happens the day before school starts in August as part of orientation weekend.

“If you think of Commencement as the end, New Student Convocation is very much the beginning,” Gottlieb said. “It is the only time that the class of 2017 will be together as a group until their commencement in four years.”

Gottlieb said the University president, Student Government Association president and the Provost all give a welcome speech at the ceremony.

“It is a brief ceremony that brings our students together and gives the President of Student Government, the president of our University and the Provost an opportunity to introduce themselves to our new students and welcome them,” Gottlieb said.

Sophomore Corey Dechiaro said she enjoyed her freshmen ceremony.

“It was nice,” Dechiaro said. “I remember that was when I felt like I was a becoming a real college student.”

Junior Nicole Fischer said she did not remember hers as much.

“I remember them (University speakers) saying God will be with you through your studies,” Fischer said. “Honestly, that’s about it.”

Gottlieb said the Seton Hall traditions are discussed at the ceremony, such as “don’t walk on the seal.”

According to a Seton Hall news release from the University President Dr. Gabriel Esteban’s first New Student Convocation speech in 2010, when he joined the school, Esteban told students what it means for them to be servant leaders and college students and encouraged them to take their future seriously and optimistically.

“Many surprises and new experiences lie ahead for you on your journey, and many doors will be opened,” Esteban said. “I encourage you to step through those doors boldly and with optimism. Welcome. Good luck. Godspeed on your first-year journey. Go Pirates!”

He also told students of the opportunities Seton Hall has to offer.

“Seton Hall University is a special faith-based learning community where students and professors of all faiths learn and teach in an open and nurturing environment,” Esteban said. “Here, where our journey has brought us together, I believe that you will experience the same thing I have and generations of Setonians have: You have come to a place that will shape your life in many ways. And you will shape the lives of others whose journeys you will enrich.”

He also encouraged students to take full advantage of these opportunities.

“I encourage you, as do your professors and advisers, to ask many questions, to read many books, to seek many answers, and to keep coming back for more. For there is no limit – no limit at all – to what you might learn in your time at Seton Hall,” Esteban said.

Gottlieb said the winner of the Summer Reading Essay contest is also announced at the ceremony and a dinner reception follows.

She added that freshmen students are required to attend, as it is “a part of the traditions of Seton Hall.”

Lindsay Rittenhouse can be reached at

Author: Lindsay Rittenhouse

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