University to welcome students during signature events

President Eric J. Barron and his wife, Molly, greet students during last year's President's Backyard Barbecue. This year's event takes place on Sunday, Aug. 26.

Florida State University will welcome incoming first-year students during the New Student Convocation and the President’s Backyard Barbecue on Sunday, Aug. 26.

New Student Convocation is intended to welcome the Class of 2016 into the university’s community of scholars by teaching them about its traditions and values. It begins at 1:30 p.m. at the Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center, but the doors will open at noon. In addition to the new student and their families, the entire university community and the general public are invited to attend.

During the ceremony, Florida State President Eric J. Barron will welcome the students and Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Garnett S. Stokes will give a charge to the Class of 2016, encouraging them to take full advantage of the academic opportunities that are available to them.

This year’s Convocation keynote speaker will be Doc Hendley, president and founder of Wine To Water, an international organization committed to providing clean drinking water to people in regions disrupted by war or natural disasters. Hendley’s book, “Wine to Water,” was this year’s One Book/One Campus summer reading selection for all incoming first-year students. Hendley was named a CNN Hero for 2009.

Dean of Undergraduate Studies Karen Laughlin will lead a Torch Ceremony and the recitation of the university’s Academic Honor Policy Pledge.

During the Torch Ceremony, three upperclassmen will pass torches to three freshmen, symbolically passing the university’s ideals from one class to the next. The torches stand for Vires (strength), Artes (skill) and Mores (character) as depicted in the Florida State University seal. The upperclassmen will be Dustin Hopkins (Vires), Ellen Truchon (Artes) and Lee Gordon (Mores). The freshmen, chosen on the basis of essays they wrote about the qualities of the three torches, will be Kalyn Badura (Vires), Vernisa Allen (Artes) and Wesley Fader (Mores). Student Luke Evans will read the essays.

Vice President for Student Affairs Mary Coburn will lead a Convocation Class Pin Ceremony and the recitation of the university’s Seminole Creed. She also will discuss the “uphold the garnet and gold” philosophy of respect for the dignity and worth of each member of the university community.

Doc Hendley, founder of Wine To Water
Doc Hendley, founder of Wine To Water

Later during the ceremony, students will be taught to sing the Alma Mater, “High o’er the Towering Pines.”

When the program concludes, buses will be available to transport students from the Civic Center to the President’s House.

The President’s Backyard Barbecue is intended to show incoming first-year students Southern hospitality and make them feel at home on campus. It will take place from 3 to 5 p.m. at the President’s House, 1030 W. Tennessee St. Barron and his wife, Molly, as well as the deans of the university’s colleges will attend to meet and greet the students.

To make meeting new classmates easier, each student will be given a T-shirt that is color-coded to the college in which he or she enrolled. To enable students to wear their color-coded T-shirts to both the New Student Convocation and the President’s Backyard Barbecue, the T-shirts will be available at the front entrance of Moore Auditorium in the Oglesby Union on the following days and times: Wednesday, Aug. 22, noon to 9 p.m.; Thursday, Aug. 23, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday, Aug. 24, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Saturday, Aug. 25, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

To learn more about both events, click here.