The Class of 2022 began their time at Emerson with a warm welcome from President Lee Pelton and other community members.
The Emerson/Cutler Majestic Theatre was nearly packed to the rafters with first-year and transfer students for the annual President’s Welcome on Tuesday morning, one of the first Orientation events after students moved in on Monday.
In addition to speeches, students got an Emerson College history lesson in the form of a short documentary, an introduction to the alma mater, and two separate pleas to vote—one from Jillian Naimo ’16, associate director of student and young alumni engagement, to participate in a new Alumni Engagement program that allows students to vote on where some annual fund dollars are spent, and one from Vice President and Dean of Campus Life Jim Hoppe urging eligible students to vote in the November elections.
Here’s some of what students heard:
President Lee Pelton
“Academic excellence is the heart of what we do in our curriculum, and our faculty will challenge you to do your best work and then even more. Our Office of Internationalization and Global Engagement is your portal to a wider and growing range of programs beyond Boston and beyond the borders of this country. Students in all majors will have the opportunity to spend the semester studying at Emerson Los Angeles or the Netherlands in our 14th-century restored castle. We offer programs on six of the world’s continents. And no, we don’t have a program in Antarctica. Not yet.
We are focused on making global connections and ensuring that Emerson students have global opportunities for learning and intellectual development. We recently established the groundbreaking partnership with Paris College of Art to offer a Global BFA in Film Art [beginning in the fall.] Before you graduate, we will expand our degree programs and partnerships to Barcelona; to Lugano, Switzerland; to Hong Kong and Sydney, building toward our vision to become a campus without borders.
You know, there are those in the world, and within this country, who build walls. We build bridges.
This is now your community to make of what you will. This is a great opportunity. Don’t squander it. All of us are here to help and support each other, even as we strive to meet the goals that we have set for ourselves, and we are especially guided by our commitment to inclusive excellence. We embrace a whole diversity of people and ideas, knowing that they are fundamental to our success, and fundamental to your growth at Emerson.
We will achieve what we want to, both individually and collectively, to the extent that we engage with each other authentically, respectfully, that we learn with each other and work together for the health of our community. And part of engaging authentically and respectfully is being present so that we may truly see and hear and mesh with the world and people and places around us.”
Jess Guida ’19
Chair, Undergraduate Orientation Program
Executive President, Student Government Association
“One thousand ninety-nine days ago, when I sat where you are, I felt scared and intimidated by the people around me. I was unsure how, exactly, I would fit into this community and what kind of impact I would have among so many other talented and inspiring individuals.… But what I didn’t realize then was that I greatly underestimated the power that Emerson has to shape and change individuals into the best versions of themselves.
You see, I wouldn’t describe us as your typical school. A typical school would lead you to believe that the people who attended all fall into the same category. And if you haven’t realized it by now, Emersonians are anything but typical. We are a community of powerful people: artists, communicators, learners, storytellers, change-seekers, and the list goes on.
But in my eyes, there is one thing that unites us all: Emersonians have passion running through their veins. We do not stand on the sidelines. We throw ourselves into our crafts and passions, whatever they may be. We push boundaries, challenge the status quo, and speak up for injustices. And it’s clear right now that the world needs Emersonians … more than ever. The world needs us. The world needs all of you.”
Vice President and Dean, Campus Life
“13,884 people applied to Emerson as undergraduates this fall, the largest pool of applicants in College history. Joining us today are 934 first-year students and 189 transfer students.
Sixteen percent of you, another College record I believe, are international students hailing from 32 countries around the globe. Twenty-six percent of the US students identify as people of color. Those coming from the United States originate from 45 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. The most frequently represented states are California, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Florida.
Forty-five of you have a relative or family member who graduated from Emerson in the past, and 147 of you are the first person in your family to attend a four-year college. As a group, you are Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Bahá’í, Hindu, Taoist, atheist, agnostic, and spiritual in many forms. You grew up in families made up of every conceivable combination under the sun.
You’re gay, straight, lesbian, asexual, bisexual, queer, pansexual, and questioning. You have persevered with significant health changes and continue to live with managing issues related to your mental health. You have many intersecting identities, some of which you’ve already fully embraced, and others which you’re still waiting to explore.
Take a good look around you. These are the people you’ll live with, laugh with, fight with, and perhaps even fall in love with. You’re all so very unique, but you all have one common bond: You’re all Emersonians. This is the chance to find who you are and who you will become. My question to you is how will you leave your mark on this community? Because of course your presence here will make a difference.”