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Convocation recognizes the past and welcomes the future

USC's incoming class of 3,000 freshmen and 1,600 transfer students is its most selective yet. (Photo/Dietmar Quistorf)

At the annual New Student Convocation on Aug. 24, USC President C. L. Max Nikias honored the university’s connection to the past and the transformative students and faculty that will lead it into a new era.

“We have gathered here at this place in a very pivotal moment in this university’s history,” said Nikias, standing at a podium in Alumni Park in front of the Romanesque façade of Doheny Memorial Library. “USC, as you know, is on the move, riding a wave of incredible academic momentum that has made it the talk of academic circles across the nation.”

USC’s incoming class, which comprises approximately 3,000 freshmen and 1,600 transfer students, is its most selective yet: USC received 46,120 freshman applications for the class of 2016, the most of any private university in the country.

Nikias encouraged these newest members of the Trojan Family to prepare for the challenges of the future by becoming literate in imagination, the world, the arts, great literature, digital media and ethics.

“Today you need to be literate in more than the traditional meaning of the word,” Nikias said. “You need to be fluent in many different areas.”

After the president’s remarks, as well as a student welcome from Undergraduate Student Government President Michael Geragos and a faculty welcome from Professor Julie Albright of the Information Sciences Institute, USC Thornton School of Music freshmen Malia Civetz and Daniel Lavezzo treated the audience to a performance of Eric Clapton’s “Change the World.”

Civetz has sung for President Barack Obama and at the Apollo Theatre as a “Star of Tomorrow,” and Lavezzo is a recipient of the prestigious “Lord of the Strings” scholarship for young fingerstyle guitar players.

To conclude the ceremony, the deans of USC’s 18 schools officially bestowed upon their newest students “all the rights, responsibilities and privileges accorded to the University of Southern California community of scholars.”

For freshman and Virginia native Brandon Horton, the ceremony brought home the reality of being a Trojan.

“It’s the cherry on top of the cake of my induction to USC,” Horton said. “Now I feel like I’m a student.”

Horton took particular comfort in the president’s encouragement to pursue diverse fields of study. Horton was accepted into the USC School of Dramatic Arts’ BFA program but recently decided to switch to a BA so that he can also pursue physics.

The convocation impressed parents Julia and David Bradley, who saw it as a perfect launching point for their daughter, art history major Jordan Bradley.

“It shows how serious the university is about its new freshmen,” Julia Bradley said. “It’s an open door to all the dreams they have.”

Convocation recognizes the past and welcomes the future

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