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UNO’s Class of 2027 Welcomed at New Student Convocation

NEW ORLEANS — While Monday marked the first day of class of the fall 2023 semester at the University of New Orleans, the Class of 2027 was officially welcomed to campus on Friday with a formal ceremony and a get-to-know-you party with their peers.

The annual new student convocation at the UNO Lakefront Arena, which included faculty marching into the arena in full academic regalia while “Pomp and Circumstance” played, commemorates the start of the academic journey for new students with an opening ceremony followed by free food and games.

Catherine Wilson of Chalmette and Ann Trudell of Kenner were among the first-year students heading into the arena. The duo, who had just recently met, were not sure what to expect Friday. However, the two said they were certain of one thing:

“I’m ready for classes to start!” Wilson said.

“I’m ready for a routine,” said Trudell.

They laughed and agreed they were also ready for some fun.

The students gathered in the arena for a short ceremony that included speeches by Interim President Jeannine O’Rourke; Carolyn Golz, vice president for student affairs; and Student Government Association president Brendan Mott.

O’Rourke, who is also an alumna, told the students that they should be proud of their academic accomplishments thus far, and that they have taken a leap toward enriching their intellectual growth by enrolling at the University of New Orleans.

“Today marks the beginning of a transformative journey that will shape your lives in ways you cannot yet fathom,” O’Rourke said. “Let curiosity be your guiding light, and never be afraid to ask questions.”

The journey will require hard work and dedication on their part, O’Rourke told them.

“Remember that challenges are inevitable, but they are also the stepping stones to success,” she said. “It’s OK to stumble; it’s OK to face setbacks. What matters is how you rise from those moments, how you learn from them, and how you grow stronger.”

It is in this same venue, O’Rourke told the students, that they will don their own gown and mortarboards to conclude their undergraduate journey to a college degree.

“Before you know it, you will be back in this arena wearing caps and gowns and joining the nearly 50,000 alumni in the metropolitan New Orleans area and 80,000 total around in globe – and that number includes me,” O’Rourke said.

“This university prepared me for every opportunity that has come my way in life and—rest assured—it will do the same for you.”

Golz, vice president for student affairs, told students that they were all on a shared journey, despite the diversity of places they come from and the varied experiences they bring with them.

“You might have different family traditions. You are majoring in different subjects,” Golz said. “And, yet, you all have at least one thing in common: You are new to the University of New Orleans. This place, this experience, is new to all of you.”

Golz told students to take time to be nice to each other, take a risk and speak to someone they don’t know.
She encouraged students to step outside of their comfort zones.

“I want you to know that you are embarking on an exciting step in your life,” Golz said. “You are well-prepared, you belong here, and this is your opportunity to create the future about which you have dreamed.”
Mott urged students to get involved on campus.

“Being involved is rewarding in many ways as it helps you make lifelong friends, make connections, have fun, and most importantly build a resume,” Mott said. “Be UNO Proud! Be a Privateer! Be a leader! Be successful! And lastly, believe in yourself.”

Mott closed out the ceremony with a “Go Privateers!” that was punctuated with a burst of silver and blue streamers that floated from the ceiling.

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