Under bright sunshine on a perfect 80 degree summer morning, hundreds of new students and their families gathered outside the Athletic/Recreation Center (ARC) eagerly waiting for the opening of registration. For the more than 550 incoming University of the Sciences students, August 27 marked an annual rite of passage: college move-in day.
The classes of 2014, 2015, and 2016 represent a diverse, dynamic group of aspiring healthcare professionals and leaders who will take on sophisticated disciplines such as pharmacy, biology, physical therapy, healthcare business, and health policy.
The day began with the efforts of the “luggers and tuggers,” current University students who assisted the new students in unpacking cars and vans loaded with residence hall essentials and getting settled into their dorm rooms. With rooms filled to the brim, the new students and their parents, along with faculty and staff, assembled in the ARC for the University’s eighth annual convocation ceremony.
The faculty led a processional of new students, all clad in matching t-shirts, into the packed gymnasium. University President Dr. Philip P. Gerbino officially welcomed the students to the first day of their collegiate journey. Mary Kate McGinty P’84, BW’04 spoke on the support of the alumni association while Dr. Russell J. DiGate, provost, spoke of the many opportunities at USciences, and Dr. Roy Robson encouraged students to keep an open mind about their future. After, Dean of Students Dr. William G. Cunningham thanked the students and their parents for choosing USciences as the place “to pursue their dreams.”
Convocation speaker Marc Mannella, CEO of KIPP Philadelphia Schools, congratulated the students on their accomplishments. He recalled his first day of school at the first Philadelphia KIPP School when he drew a mountain on the chalkboard symbolizing a journey to college. Mannella told his students, “when you climb this mountain, you’ll need to work very hard, and you won’t be able to get to the top by yourself, but once you make it to the top, all the hard work will be worth it.”
KIPP Philadelphia Schools (KPS) is a network of open-enrollment, college-preparatory public charter schools, and part of the national KIPP Network of schools. (For more information about KIPP Philadelphia, please visit: http://www.kippphiladelphia.org/.) In Philadelphia, Mannella has started four KIPP schools, serving 705 students. From day one, his students learn the value of hard work and the importance of giving back.
“There are many people who helped you get here, to this moment, to the top of this mountain,” said Mannella to the University students. “Now that you are here at the top of the mountain, make sure you do something to help your city, your country, your world.”
USciences students have the opportunity to support the “KIPPsters” throughout the year through donations of sporting equipment, books, funds, tutoring programs, and more.
The activities of the day drew to a close with a pinning ceremony, during which faculty presented the new students with a University of the Sciences pin, marking the end of convocation and the start of the students’ collegiate experience.