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An Official Welcome for the Class of 2009
A procession led by President Walter Harrison and student orientation leaders carries the Class of 2009 banner across the bridge. Members of the class signed the banner at Convocation.
The banner is temporarily hung outside the Gray Center. Pictured (L-R) are Suzanne Anderson McNeil, Director of Orientation and Parent Relations; Chelsie Carswell and Latasha Smith, Assistant Directors of Orientation; Assoc. Vice President Irwin Nussbaum; SGA Pres. Eliott Ponte; President Walter Harrison; and Tiffany Berube, Orientation Director.
“What a great and interesting group you are,” Dean of Admission Richard Zeiser said to the first-year students who gathered in Lincoln Theater for the ceremony.
In fact, the Class of 2009 has the highest average SAT score of any entering class in university history, Zeiser said. In addition, 192 members of the freshman class were members of the National Honor Society in high school; 647 received academic awards in high school; 284 received community service awards; and 327 received athletics awards.
The entering class includes 1,545 freshmen and 145 transfer students. One of the most interesting statistics about the class is that a whopping 43 percent applied for admission online, Zeiser said.
The university’s newest students come from 33 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia, and from 20 countries, including China, St. Kitts, Ukraine, Bahrain, Togo, and Jordan.
Zeiser introduced two members of the Class of 2009 who came to the University of Hartford from Alaska: Dan Luedke and Logan Bean. The school that Luedke attended in Port Alexander, Alaska, is located 80 air miles from the nearest city and is accessible only by a single-engine floatplane or the boat that brings mail and freight once a week.
Zeiser read a portion of a letter of recommendation sent by one of Luedke’s teachers. “Some would consider attending our school, with only 20 students, a disadvantage,” the teacher wrote. “Dan saw our school as an opportunity to learn the skills needed for success at college and develop as a caring, generous, and collaborative individual.
Professor of Mechanical Engineering Robert Celmer, a University of Hartford alumnus, was the guest speaker at the Convocation ceremony. Celmer, who had originally intended to become a lawyer only to find that his true calling was acoustical engineering, urged students to follow their passion.
“Keep an ear for that little voice telling you what your passion is,” Celmer said. “Because once you find it, there’s no stopping you.”
In what has become an annual tradition, members of the freshman class signed a large “Class of 2009” banner as they arrived for the Convocation ceremony. Students carried the banner to Mortensen Library, where it will hang for the next four years.