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Traditions old and new: Convocation, New Student Celebration


By Dateline staff


WHAT: New Student Celebration 2011, for new students (freshmen and transfers)

WHEN: Tuesday, Sept. 20

  • 3:30 p.m. — Doors open
  • 4:30 p.m. — Program begins (with dinner to follow outside)

WHERE: The Pavilion at the Activities and Recreation Center, and the Hutchison Intramural Field

WHAT: Fall Convocation, for everyone in the campus community

WHEN: Wednesday, Sept. 21

  • 9:30 a.m. — Doors open
  • 9:45 a.m. — Prelude (string quartet)
  • 10 a.m. — Program (with reception to follow)

WHERE: Jackson Hall, Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, and the Vanderhoef Quad

Watch the live webcast: Look for the link on the UC Davis home page, the morning of the event.

UC Davis goes formal and informal in launching the new academic year.

The formal part is the Fall Convocation, Wednesday (Sept. 21), with the chancellor, a faculty member and an alumnus as the speakers; the alma mater, Hail to California; and music by a string quartet.

The Fall Convocation is for everyone in the campus community. But first-year students and transfers also have an opportunity, the evening before, to become part of a new UC Davis tradition: the New Student Celebration, an hour of quick hits — singing and dancing and texting and other snippets of campus life — making clear to the thousands expected to fill The Pavilion: “UC Davis has a lot to offer — go out and get it!”

“It’s going to be fast-paced, it’s going to be fun,” said Scott Judson, the former Aggie Pack leader who will serve as master of ceremonies.

The New Student Celebration does not replace convocation, which traditionally starts the new term by reaffirming everything that UC Davis stands for, in academics, research and public service, and honoring all the people who contribute to our mission: faculty, staff, students, alumni and other friends of the university.

Instead, the New Student Celebration honors the newest members of our campus community in a new way, by showing them what UC Davis is all about, from the classroom to extracurricular activities.

“We want to get them fired up about what’s out there, so they can get the most out of college,” said Judson, who led the Aggie Pack student spirit organization from 2005 to 2009, before graduating and entering the UC Davis School of Law.

The “sneak peak” will include performances by the Nigerian Student Dance Group and the Liquid Hotplates, a coed, a cappella group.

All throughout the celebration, The Pavilion will be a giant chat room, with the students invited to send text messages for display on the arena’s big video screens. The chat topic: What’s on your academic bucket list? What do you hope to accomplish during your time at UC Davis?

Beyond text messages, the celebration will include brief remarks from the following:

Christine Ho — a fourth-year double major in biological anthropology and genetics, a member of the University Honors Program, an orientation leader and a first-year experience peer adviser, and a runner and a soccer player.

Jennifer Gross — head coach of the women’s basketball team, who served as the associate head coach last year when the Aggies reached the NCAA Tournament. She graduated from UC Davis in 1997 and was inducted in the Cal Athletics Hall of Fame in 2003.

Adam Thongsavat — ASUCD president, a fourth-year student majoring in history.

Matt Augustine — associate professor of chemistry, a recipient of an ASUCD teaching prize.

The New Student Celebration and the convocation will share a couple of speakers: Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi and UC Davis alumnus Mark Otero (Master of Business Administration, 2007), co-founder of KlickNation Corp., the Sacramento-based social media gaming company.

Isabel Montanez, geology professor and a 2011 Guggenheim Fellow, will serve as master of ceremonies for the convocation. The speakers list also includes Paul Henderson, assistant professor in hematology and oncology at the UC Davis Health System.

The convocation program also includes:

National anthem — sung by Carol Simmons, soprano, executive assistant in the dean’s office, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

String quartet — Susan Lamb Cook, Dan Flanagan and Jolan Friedhoff, all lecturers in the Department of Music, plus Emily Onderdonk of the Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra.

Hail to California — Sung by Jonathan Nadel, lyric tenor, a lecturer in the Department of Music. The string quartet will provide the accompaniment — the first time that has ever been done for the alma mater at Fall Convocation — to an arrangement by Andrew Hudson, a third-year transfer student, majoring in music.

Normally, when people exit the convocation, the Cal Aggie Marching Band-uh! would be playing outside. This year, the band will be en route to Hawaii for the Aggie football game. But not to worry, the convocation’s organizers have rounded up the equally impressive Bakuhatsu Taiko Dan, a student drumming group.

This year’s reception will be on the Vanderhoef Quad across the street from the Mondavi Center.

The Cal Aggie Marching Band-uh! will miss the convocation, but not the New Student Celebration the day before — rocking The Pavilion as the expected thousands of students make their way through multiple entrances at 3:30 p.m.

The program starts at 4:30 p.m., and, about an hour later, the students are invited to the Hutchison Intramural Field for a student resource fair and dinner.

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