President, Provost to New Students—Take the World by Storm

By Purnell T. Cropper | September 8, 2011

“Walking through the dorms on Saturday evening, as the rain was falling and the winds whipping, students in Dilworth gave me the idea for your class—The Class That Took The World By Storm,” said Arcadia University President Carl (Tobey) Oxholm III as he greeted the Class of 2015 and new transfer students at the New Student Convocation, which wrapped up orientation in a spirited assembly on Tuesday, Aug. 30.

“You all did great,” he said, “putting up with blackouts and lockdowns during Hurricane Irene over the weekend. You know each other so much better now after all those board games, dances, slumber parties, jams, and hall activities. Unlike any other, you have been truly fused together into a class, and you have the potential to be greater than any other.”

Noting that their next adventure would be classes, which began on Aug. 31, he challenged them to do their best academically and to remember to help their classmates out there, too. He also urged the students to take advantage of the cultural richness available in Glenside and Philadelphia. “Your KnightPass is a passport to this neighborhood and the city of Philadelphia. Get out of your dorm. Get off the campus. Get out into the world. Take the train. It’s not that hard.

“Get involved in a club, intramurals, in sports,” he said, asking, “You are all going to support our teams, right?”—which received a loud roar of agreement.

“I am new here, too. You are my first class, and I want us all to succeed. If we all work together and play together and support each other, we will make this the place we want it to be, and we will succeed. I promise you that you will get more out of this place the more that you put into it.”

Dr. Steve O. Michael, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, followed with an analogy about the role borders played in his life, which began as a student in Nigeria and took him to several countries and states before he arrived in Glenside, and why crossing borders is important for today’s students. “You can see borders as limits, as most people do,” he said, “or you can see them as opportunities for exploration, growth and excitement.” Talking about what allowed him to cross those many borders and succeed, he said, “The most important thing in my life is the quality of education that I have received. This is your time to get that ticket that will help you cross borders in your lives.

“The whole world is standing before you, and you are so privileged to have the opportunity to go from here to the ends of the world. You cannot be a global leader without global knowledge. That is what Arcadia offers—that everything you talk about, you can look at it in the context of the world. The world is here for the taking, as long as you are ready to work hard for it.”

Photos by Josh Blustein