Matriculation 2022 Remarks

Good Afternoon! My name is Kate Morris, and it is my distinct honor to serve as President here at St. Lawrence University.

I am so pleased to be one of the many people who welcome our new students and your families to St. Lawrence today. 

Let me begin with a few introductions so that the newest members of the Laurentian community can see who all is here today as a part of our matriculation program.

Colleagues, would you please stand as I introduce you and remain standing until all names are called? Students and guests, please hold your applause.

  • Shaun Whitehead, University Chaplain, from whom you have just heard
  • Karl Schonberg, Vice President of the University and Dean of Academic Affairs
  • Hagi Bradley, Vice President and Dean of Student Life
  • Florence Hines, Vice President of Enrollment Management and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid
  • Jennifer Thomas, Associate Dean for the First Year Program
  • Kimberly Flint Hamilton, Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion

Students, please know that these campus leaders work very hard to make St. Lawrence a place where you can thrive academically and personally during your collegiate career.  Thank you, campus leaders, for all that you do.

Also with us are representatives of our faculty. Students, they will be your professors, academic advisors, and mentors.  They will care deeply about your success—academic, professional, and personal—and they will want to hear from you after you graduate.  Faculty, will you please rise so that we may honor you? Thank you, faculty.

In addition to our faculty, we have a number of staff members present with us today. They will support you in a whole host of ways, ranging from athletic coaches to residence life staff to counselors.  Like our faculty, our professional staff members will challenge you and support you, and they will become important mentors to you. Staff, will you please rise so that we may honor you? Thank you.

Thank you, faculty and staff colleagues, for your commitment to our students, including this new group of students we are welcoming to the Laurentian community today.

Finally and most importantly, I would like to recognize and thank all the students who are here today as a part of our program. Alexander Reyes, from whom you’ll hear shortly, is President of Thelmo, our student government association. We have students bearing the flags, singers, orientation leaders, and community assistants. Come on everyone—please stand so we can recognize you. Thank you for the amazing work you’ve done to create a fun and easy move in and orientation experience for the newest members of our community.

Students, today, at matriculation, we formally welcome you as members of our academic community at St. Lawrence University. Let me start by sharing our institutional mission:

The mission of St. Lawrence University is to provide an inspiring and demanding undergraduate education in the liberal arts to students selected for their seriousness of purpose and intellectual promise.

This institutional mission demands that we provide you an inspiring and demanding undergraduate education in the liberal arts. Students, as you embark on your journey here at St. Lawrence, you will find incredible professors, take interesting and challenging classes, work with supportive faculty and staff, and have the opportunity to become involved in a wide array of co-curricular activities. All of us who work here—your faculty and staff—are here because we are committed to our institutional mission of providing an inspiring and demanding education to you. And every day, we offer you up opportunity—opportunity to learn, to grow, to develop yourselves intellectually and interpersonally.

Our job is to offer you up opportunity—your job is to take it. (This is important, so let me say it again—our job is to offer you up opportunity—your job is to take it.) As such, I want to encourage you take full advantage of what a St. Lawrence experience offers you. We want you to take classes and get involved in activities that you already know you are interested in. But we also hope you will take classes that are out of your comfort zone, meet people from different places and backgrounds than you, try out new things and get involved in activities that might reveal an interest that you didn’t know you had. Your college experience will be as rich as you make it by taking us up on the learning opportunities we offer.

Let me say a few words about the second part of our institutional mission—we will provide that inspiring and demanding education to students selected for their seriousness of purpose and intellectual promise. You—every single one of you—you are smart, interesting, motivated people. In fact, you are the strongest class of students on record, in terms of your academic credentials. Because of who you are and what you have already accomplished, in selecting you for admission to St. Lawrence, you are those students with a seriousness of purpose and intellectual promise demanded by our institutional mission.

While your academic successes are a strong commonality among you, you are different in many ways as well. Some of you are outgoing. Some are more reserved. You have different backgrounds and interests. Yet starting today, you are all part of one community, the Laurentian community.  I hope that as you begin your college experience at St. Lawrence today, you will find ways to connect with your new community, and to be respectful, welcoming, and inclusive of each other—those who are most similar to you, and those who are most different from you.

Let me be so bold as to ask you to do something to foster a positive community on campus. It’s pretty simple: Invite each other to go places together—whether to the dining hall, the grocery store, club meetings, or social activities. And, look out for each other, especially those who may be less inclined to make the first friendship move. Make a special effort to invite them to join you.

Students, again, we welcome you sincerely to your new community, and we are excited to work with you during your years at St. Lawrence.

Before I hand the podium over to our next speaker, I’d like to take a moment to address the parents, family members, and friends who are with us here today—whether in person or via our live stream from somewhere around the country or even around the world—to support our new students. 

Many thanks to each of you for being here today, for the support you have provided to your students throughout their lives, for the trust you place in us when your student joins the St. Lawrence community, and for the courage it takes to allow your children to leave your nest and spread their wings within our campus community.

With that, let me reiterate my words of welcome to St. Lawrence to each of you—our new students and your families, friends, and loved ones. 

Students, I look forward to seeing you at our Candlelight service this evening and at the first year picnic dinner on Tuesday. Parents and family members, we look forward to seeing those of you who return for Laurentian Weekend this fall.

I am now pleased to introduce our next speaker, Vice President for Enrollment Management and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Florence Hines.  Thank you.