Marlboro College

NewsPress Release: 9/5/02Marlboro College Toasts New School Year/Students

MARLBORO, VT – From being remembered for writing something beautiful to being a nice person freshmen listed their goals for their college careers at this year's convocation ceremony.

The ceremony is traditionally held at the beginning of the year at Marlboro to welcome in the incoming class, in this case the Class of 2006. In keeping with tradition, this year's incoming class was asked to introduce themselves to the campus community by answering a simple, unanticipated, question from President Paul Leblanc. This year's question was: "If we were to go forward four years to graduation, what is it that you would like to be remembered for?"

Answers ranged from "being a great community member" to "someone who took his work seriously but not himself."

This year's incoming class includes 100 students comprised of 77 freshmen and 23 transfer students from 29 states and several foreign countries including India, Nepal, Haiti, Scotland, and Mexico.

Four students from this year's incoming class are first generation college students in their families and five students have transferred in from the Community College of Vermont.

Former Marlboro College president Rod Gander was this year's convocation speaker. He spoke to the new students of his first day at the college in 1981.

"I stood in this same spot for the first time 21 years ago, almost to the day," he said. "I can reveal now that I was a nervous wreck. What in heaven's name had I let myself in for?"

He warned students that they would not be able to hide from professors, who take their jobs to teach students seriously, telling the story of a student who tried to hide from one particular professor but ultimately realized that the professor was there to help her and not to discipline her.

Gander encouraged students to open themselves to what the college has to offer.

"You will learn to trust yourself. You will develop good judgment. You will find an intellectual pursuit that commands your passionate attention," he said. "When I came to Marlboro, I made the right choice, and so did you."
According to Marlboro College President Paul Leblanc, convocation is an important tradition at the college.

"This is a night in which we catch our breath and gather as a community to meet and more formally welcome you to Marlboro College," he said. "This is our first public step at getting to know each other with the kind of intimacy not found on most campuses."

Leblanc offered freshmen three points of advice: 1. to study broadly, 2. speak up, and 3. keep things in perspective.

"Study broadly, we cannot predict the world nowadays. Your liberal arts education may be the single best tool you have. Speak up. As an academic institution, we must model a debate in which all voices are heard," he said. "And, in the pain of last year, it served as a reminder that we have to keep the small annoyances of life in perspective."

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