Ceremonies and celebrations for the opening of the 2018-2019 academic year culminated this week in the Drexel University 2018 Convocation, held in Main Building with the dean and faculty of the College of Engineering foremost in the processional.
After welcoming the assembly, University President John Fry prefaced the keynote speaker by lauding art collections like the Drexel Collection—the University’s flagship trove of art founded simultaneously to Drexel in 1891—as an essential component of the education of today’s students. The Keynote Address was presented by Scott Cooper, PhD, president and CEO of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, who charmingly opened his talk by reading aloud from his daughter’s favorite story.
University Imam Mufti Niaz Hannan welcomed the “smart, beautiful and powerful” students just beginning their academic careers. And Executive Vice President and Nina Henderson Provost M. Brian Blake encouraged those in attendance to consider their connections to Drexel just as he recently came to understand his own connection going back several generations of his family.
The first dean to take the stage after the opening speeches, College of Engineering Dean Sharon L. Walker acknowledged three new faculty members before asking members of the College—faculty, staff, and students—to stand and be recognized.
In other opening celebrations, the College of Engineering’s College Day took place Tuesday, Sept. 18. The event featured academic presentations at the Mitchell Auditorium for assigned majors in all seven CoE departments, and included a panel of students who answered questions about work load, time management, and where to get the best food. The winner of the Class T-shirt design was announced: Juba Patiashvili, an incoming international student from Tbilisi, Georgia majoring in Mechanical Engineering. Free T-shirts were handed out to all class members and were seen about campus all afternoon.
“I have been thinking about Drexel, and as a result I created this in my mind,” said Patiashvili of his design. “The Circle stands for Community; the Dragon stands for students; the Bolt stands as a symbol of engineering; the Date stands for historical background; the Fire stands as a symbol of the dragon’s strength; and the circle’s ‘embellishment’ stands for uniqueness.”
Welcome activities continued for the class in the Daskalakis Athletic Center (DAC), where free food, student organization displays, department tables and information, a pie-eating contest, and general co-mingling of the College of Engineering’s newest members rounded out the festivities.
“I came to college to learn about the things I actually want to learn about. In high school I had English and history and other subjects I didn’t really care that much about,” said freshman Jesse Lim, who will pursue his degree in mechanical engineering. “One of the first things I did when I got here was look for research opportunities. I think I already found one, and next I’m going to apply to STAR. I’m onto big things after that.”
Freshman Aaron Loffman said he was not at all fazed with the work load he had heard about from faculty members, staffers, and older CoE students since his arrival on campus. “I’m ready for it. I feel like the work load is going to be appropriate,” said Loffman, who attended Brooklyn Technical High School, which specializes in STEM subjects. “I came from a high school where the work load was pretty heavy, so what I’ve heard so far is about what I was expecting.”
Organizers of the Class Day event were pleased with the attendance and the series of events.
“My observation of the students is that they’re eager, responsive, and intent on success,” said James E. Mitchell, professor and associate dean for Undergraduate Affairs. “The questions they asked showed their awareness of the changes they’re experiencing and their determination to find the best path to graduation We couldn’t ask for more.”
“College Day was a huge success this year,” said Jennifer Matthews, assistant director of the Undergraduate Advising Center. “Dean Walker welcomed the new students to campus as Drexel Engineers and even took a selfie with them to mark the occasion, which was really exciting.
“College Day ended with the Welcome Party in the Rec Center and it was filled with a variety of opportunities for students. Each of our engineering departments were represented with advisors and faculty members, and students were able to get involved early with the student organizations and clubs,” she added. “Overall, College Day left the students feeling excited, inspired, engaged, and ready to embark on this new journey as a Drexel Engineer.”