New students and their parents took a break from the stresses of moving and getting acclimated to campus for the annual New Student Convocation at Hill Auditorium Thursday evening to listen to campus leaders talk about University life.
Speakers at the event — including University President Mary Sue Coleman and Manish Parikh, president of the Central Student Government— lauded the University while trying to alleviate anxieties new students might have about starting college.
Coleman, who’s been president of the University for a decade now, stressed in her speech that while the University is a national leader in several rankings, its most beneficial attributes are often hard to measure.
“Always know that nothing replaces real world connections that generate laughter, debate and the ‘aha’ moment that comes with learning and interacting,” Coleman said. “I guarantee that you will experience this in the upcoming months and years.”
Coleman also noted that Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, a University alum, honed his skills in the classroom and while performing standup comedy at the Michigan Union.
“That’s the beauty and power of this place,” she said, adding that Costolo is scheduled to visit the University in November.
While Coleman, as well as other speakers, spoke encouragingly of students’ potential at the University, Parikh, a Business senior, gave the audience practical advice on making it to class on time.
“Find an alarm clock that works for you as soon as humanly possible,” Parikh said, adding that it took him about two years to find the perfect device.
Parikh’s remark was met by laughter from the audience. Engineering freshman Sam Devaprasad, who came with his roommate, said he found the speech to be positive.
“I thought his message was good and he brought in humor into it as well,” Devaprasad said.
Nursing freshman Asa Smith said he was glad to see Coleman helping freshmen start a new chapter in their lives.
“I think she’s great,” Smith said. “It’s really fun to see her talk and be engaged in the student community. She lives on campus … that’s pretty cool.”
E. Royster Harper, the University’s vice president for student affairs, Ted Spencer, the associate vice president of undergraduate admissions and University Provost Philip Hanlon also spoke to the crowd.
Indian dance group Michigan Manzil also performed, while MUSKET, a student-run musical theater company, sang to the audience. A group of musicians from the Michigan Marching Band played a rendition of the University’s Alma Mater, “The Yellow and Blue”.
The convocation took place twice, first at 4:30 p.m., and again at 7:00 p.m, to accommodate the large number of freshmen and their families.