“Today marks the official start of Hamilton’s 205th year, but it also marks the start of your first year—and mine,” proclaimed President David Wippman in his remarks at the College’s Convocation ceremony on Wednesday, Aug. 24. Interim Dean of Faculty Margaret Gentry also spoke and welcomed new students and faculty.
In his first major address to the College as president, Wippman addressed the benefits and responsibilities that accompany an open curriculum. “… the central role is yours. Our open curriculum gives you the freedom to zero in on your academic interests and to explore the breadth of the liberal arts.”
In affirming his expectation that students “take full advantage of the extraordinary opportunities you will encounter here,” Wippman also expressed the hope to “take advantage of some of those opportunities myself, since I am also new to Hamilton College.”
Communication – the challenges, rewards, importance of respectful discourse – was another major theme of Wippman’s address. Emphasizing that discussion and debate should be conducted productively to foster an environment in which “every student feels welcome and every student can thrive,” Wippman noted that “we are part of a single community; we have a shared home and a shared identity … But each of us is also part of many other communities, and those communities overlap and intersect in complex ways. We all have multiple identities, and it is a mistake to think that any of us can be reduced to just one.”
“One of the great joys of Hamilton is the opportunity to learn from each other. … No doubt you will learn at least as much from each other, and we will learn at least as much from you, as you will learn from us. So, let the learning begin,” Wippman said in conclusion.
Following Wippman’s remarks, Honor Court Chair Taylor K. Elicegui ’17 presented the honor code pledges, created by one of the Exploration Adventure groups, to the first-year students and collected the signed documents with the help of Honor Court Member Evan Weinstein ’19. Academic achievement prizes were also awarded to 57 students. Assistant to the Dean of Students Cindy Reynolds received the Ellie Wertimer – Patsy Couper Award which is given annually to an employee who goes above and beyond in service to students.