The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

99° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Freshmen fill McKale for welcoming ceremony

Ernie Somoza
Ernie Somoza/ Arizona Daily Wildcat New Student convocation was held at the University of Arizona’s McKale Memorial Center. University faculty and President Ann Weaver Hart welcomed students before their first day of class.

Almost 6,000 students of the largest freshman class ever to be admitted to the UA gathered in McKale Center on Sunday night for this year’s New Student Convocation. They were welcomed to Tucson and the UA with an unexpected, heavy monsoon storm interrupting the festivities. The storm’s heavy rain, thunder and lightning led to thousands of students running out of McKale Center unable to fully enjoy the free food and celebration after the convocation.

The ceremony, which ended with attendees learning chants and cheers from the cheerleading and dance teams for the upcoming football games, was supposed to be followed by a celebration outside the north entrance of the center. Minutes later, the storm broke out, causing students to scatter from the event trying to figure out how to get to their dorms.

During the event, President Ann Weaver Hart welcomed students to the UA, explaining that she too was new to Tucson, like 40 percent of the incoming class. The students also learned that not having decided on a major was common as 23 percent of incoming freshman were undeclared.

Wanda Howell, the UA’s chair of faculty and a professor of nutritional sciences, talked to attendees about the importance of getting to know the UA faculty. She told the students the faculty is there to help and that there needs to be a strong relationship between students and faculty.

“We want to get you started on the rest of your lives. And that means getting to know each other,” Howell said. “That means going to class.”

Howell said the relationship between students and faculty is a partnership that requires work on both sides.

“Open office hours means open office hours,” she added.

Melissa Vito, vice president of student affairs told students they were the largest freshman class in the UA’s history, a class of 7,400 students. She also shared some fun facts that make this class unique, such as their diversity, with more than 2,000 students representing every state in the U.S. and 450 students representing 63 different countries.

Katy Murray, president of the Associated Students of the University of Arizona, also stepped up to the podium and gave the students some advice, having been in their seats three years ago.

“You’re about to have the most incredible four years of your life,” Murray said.

Greg Byrne, the UA athletic director told attendees the story of John “Button” Salmon who, on his death bed, told coach Pop McKale to tell the team to “Bear Down.” He explained the rich history behind that phrase and asked students to be loud but classy at games.

“I think this is great for University of Arizona pride,” said Daniel DeHollander, a graduate student studying higher education who volunteered for the event. “To get new students involved right away — I think that’s what first year students really need.”

More to Discover
Activate Search