The chime of bells filled campus Tuesday, Aug. 31, to signify the start of Franklin & Marshall College’s time-honored Convocation ceremony.
College President Barbara Altmann, faculty and professional staff lined the walkway outside the Alumni Sports & Fitness Center to welcome 518 first-year and 17 transfer students proceeding toward the ceremony.
“Right now, you are probably feeling some mixture of anticipation, fatigue and trepidation,” President Altmann said.
“That combination of anticipation and anxiety is normal and healthy. I have referred often in my three years at F&M to ‘ampersand’ moments. The ampersand, that tantalizing typographical symbol that means ‘and,’ hangs in the middle of our College’s name and presents a rich space of possibility,” she said.
Senior Makaila Ranges, president of Diplomatic Congress and the student body, shared the triumphs and struggles of her experience as a first-generation college student at F&M.
“Like many of you, my journey to college was unconventional,” said Ranges, a 2021 Truman Scholar.
“Regardless of how you got here or why you chose to attend F&M, F&M chose you,” she said.
The Class of 2025 represents 428 high schools, 39 countries of citizenship, and shares the common bond of graduating high school in the midst of a global pandemic.
“This time and this journey is for us to transform what we think is our vision into our mission,” Ranges said.
Ranges shared the stage with Professor of Classics Alexis Castor, who urged students to embrace social, intellectual, and emotional growth in their time at F&M.
“You can’t thrive if you are trying to fulfill a vision of yourself that is outdated,” Castor said.
Tuesday featured another important passage. The Lux et Lex Walk provided first-year students the opportunity to symbolically begin their College journeys. Grouped by F&M's five College Houses, students completed a ceremonious walk beneath the metal arch spanning Klauder-Apple Walkway.
Inscribed with Lux et Lex – Light and Law – the arch captures the ethos of F&M.
At their Commencement, the same cohort will pass under the arch in the opposite direction to complete the tradition as seniors.
“This time and this journey is for us to transform what we think is our vision into our mission."