President James Ramsey spoke at convocation.
President James Ramsey spoke at convocation.

UofL President James Ramsey and other officials welcomed more than 600 students and their parents to the university at the annual New Student Convocation Friday afternoon in Cardinal Arena.

The convocation is the keynote event among the university’s Welcome Week activities. Ramsey joined Interim Provost Neville Pinto and Student Government Association President Victoria Allen in urging the new students to make the most out of their UofL experience.

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Ramsey advised the students to take advantage of the many in–class and extracurricular activities the university offers. He paraphrased Cornell University professor Elizabeth Deutsch Earle, who stressed in an essay the importance of embracing one’s surroundings. “You chose to come to the University of Louisville,” Ramsey said. “Be here.”

Pinto told the students that UofL faculty have a “single-minded goal…to teach you to think.” Critical thinking, he said, is among the most important skills needed to succeed in life.

Following the remarks, students received Cardinal ball caps and lined up for a group photo. Pinto urged each student to keep the cap and then to trade it in for a mortarboard upon graduation.

The convocation ceremony preceded the annual Alumni Barbecue in the Humanities Quadrangle. Friday’s activities also included the President’s Dessert Reception in Grawemeyer Hall.

John Drees is a 35-year veteran in the Office of Communications and Marketing. As vice president, communications and marketing, he works closely with the president, provost and other senior administrators, oversees the Office of Communications and Marketing, including media relations, marketing and brand, broadcast, social media, internal communication, crisis communication, visitor services and special events and activities. A former sports editor for the Voice Newspapers, he was a regular contributor to a variety of publications, including the Kentucky Sports Report and the Courier-Journal. A poor but enthusiastic golfer, he is an avid Cardinal sports fan. He also loves the Detroit Lions, so pity him.