Students and staff gathered on the front lawn of University President Mark Schlissel’s South University Avenue home to participate in the first annual walk to the Crisler Center for New Student Convocation.

The Friday afternoon walk, which began with about 50 students at the President’s House, quickly grew into a large crowd of University freshmen, residence hall staff and the occasional faculty member.

The procession was organized to give freshmen a unique experience to meet Schlissel and other members of the freshman class.

LSA junior Elizabeth Warbasse, a South Quad resident advisor, said convocation provides a good introduction to the University, and she wanted to be sure her residents didn’t miss the opportunity to attend.

“I really wanted my freshmen in my hall to have the chance to meet the president of the University,” she added.

The trail to convocation passed several University icons including an impromptu performance by the Michigan Marching Band and a visit from the South Quad mascot, Squady.

As the procession reached its destination, freshmen took their seats in the Crisler Center to hear Schlissel welcome them to the University.

At the beginning of his address, Schlissel jokingly advised freshmen students to try the corned beef reuben from Zingerman’s Delicatessen and invest in a warm winter coat.

Schlissel said this fall’s freshman class was admitted during yet another year of record applications — over 50,000 in all — with Schlissel stressing that attending the University is already a great distinction few others can claim.

“I’ve learned a tremendous amount about the kind of student we attract here to the University of Michigan, and what their experience will be like here,” he said. “I learned firsthand that our students — that you — have tremendous energy, entrepreneurial spirit, social consciousness and amazing potential.”

Schlissel welcomed parents in the audience as well.

“You are now all members of the Michigan family,” he said. “I hope you parents are as proud of your students as we are.”

During the remainder of his speech, Schlissel emphasized the impact University students and alumni across the country and abroad.

“You’ve come to Michigan to make a difference in the world,” he said.

Convocation also featured several talent acts, including an appearance by the Michigan Men’s Glee Club, a performance by Michigan Manzil and a rendition of the national anthem by Music, Theatre & Dance senior Nora Schell.

LSA freshman Madeline Carter, who attended Friday’s ceremony, said she is looking forward to her time at the University.

“There’s so much spirit at Michigan, and it makes me so excited to be a part of everything,” she said. “It’s so much more than I could have thought it would be.”

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