NORMAN — University of Oklahoma President David Boren joined faculty and staff to welcome the class of 2016 Thursday afternoon with the annual New Sooner Convocation at the Lloyd Noble Center.
Blending excitement, nostalgia and sage advice for the future, Boren and OU Student Association President Joe Sangirardi greeted incoming freshmen and their families to the OU family.
“I am happy to announce that you are part of the largest freshman class in the history of the university, with over 4,100 students enrolled,” Boren said.
Boren said this is a class that brings much success with it, with more than 190 National Merit Scholars, more than 300 State Regent Scholars and one of every nine incoming freshmen entering the university with 4.0 high school grade point averages.
“I choose the word ‘family’ carefully. It’s not just a slogan,” Boren said. “We come to know and care deeply for each other here at this university and share each other’s hopes, dreams and challenges more than any other institution.”
As an OU student himself, Sangirardi recalled his own experience as an incoming freshman and emphasized the importance of open-mindedness and taking opportunities.
“Over the next few months and years, you’ll get to focus on your own development. The decision of becoming the person you want to be has never been easier than right now, so keep that in mind,” Sangirardi said. “The most learning you’ll do will likely be outside the classroom.”
Taking a somber tone, Boren reflected on the “crucial” time in our nation’s history, in which the class of 2016 is preparing for a future that many perceive to be very grim.
“Can we meet the challenges of the future? Can you? I know we can because I have the opportunity to interact with you every day, to share your experiences and battles with you,” Boren said.
“As you embark on this journey and begin to frame your life, it is my greatest hope that each of you finds something very personal for you, greater than yourself, that means so much to you that it gives meaning to your life,” Boren said. “If you only focus on yourself, you will not lead a life that is fulfilling or with which you are at peace.”