University to welcome students during signature events

The Torch Ceremony - a tradition at Florida State.

Florida State University will welcome incoming first-year students from its main campus and Panama City, Fla., campus during the annual New Student Convocation and Backyard Barbecue on Sunday, Aug. 24.

New Student Convocation 2014 will welcome the Class of 2018 and all new students into the university’s community of scholars, with an emphasis on its traditions and values. It begins at 1:30 p.m. at the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center, but the doors will open at noon. In addition to new students and their families, the entire university community and the general public are invited to attend. Students are encouraged to arrive early; attendance increases each year for this event and a record number of students is expected.

During the ceremony, Interim President Garnett S. Stokes will greet the students and Interim Provost and Vice President for Faculty Development and Advancement Sally McRorie will give a charge to the Class of 2018, encouraging its members to take full advantage of the academic opportunities that are available to them.

Internationally known human right advocate Terence C. “Terry” Coonan, executive director of Florida State’s Center for the Advancement of Human Rights, will deliver the convocation address.

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

During the Torch Ceremony, three upperclassmen will pass torches to three first-year students, 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 Daniel Stribling (Vires), Daniel Ruiz (Artes) and Rachel Crooks (Mores). The first-year students, chosen on the basis of essays they wrote about the qualities of the three torches and how they connect with the history and culture of the Seminole Tribe, will be Leila Sabet (Vires), Nicholas Bastidas (Artes) and Alexandra Taggart (Mores). Incoming School of Theatre student Ian Sicks will read the winning essays.

Following this, Vice President for Student Affairs Mary Coburn will lead the Convocation Class Pin Ceremony and the recitation of the university’s Seminole Creed. She also will discuss the university’s Uphold the Garnet and Gold philosophy of respect for the dignity and worth of each member of the university community.

Later during the ceremony, students will be taught to sing the Alma Mater, “High o’er the Towering Pines” with assistance from College of Music Professor Kevin Fenton and incoming music student Driss Ziane.

When the program concludes, buses will be available to transport students from the Civic Center to the President’s House for this year’s Backyard Barbecue, a display of Florida State’s Southern hospitality to make incoming students feel at home on campus. It will take place from 3 to 5 p.m. at the President’s House, 1030 W. Tennessee St. Interim President Stokes and the deans of the university’s colleges will attend, and there will be food, fun and entertainment for incoming students and their families.

To make meeting new classmates and finding their dean easier, each student will be given a T-shirt that is color-coded to the college in which he or she enrolled. All new students should wear these special T-shirts to both the New Student Convocation and the Backyard Barbecue, the T-shirts will be available for pickup at the front entrance of Moore Auditorium in the Oglesby Union on the following days and times: Wednesday, Aug. 20, noon to 9 p.m.; Thursday, Aug. 21, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday, Aug. 22, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Saturday, Aug. 23, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

To learn more about the New Student Convocation and the Backyard Barbecue, click here.