By Phoebe Doscher, Editor-in-Chief and Katie Oglesby, Magazine Editor
On Wednesday, Aug. 25, Gettysburg College welcomed first-year students and families for the 190th Convocation for the Class of 2025, in-person outside of Pennsylvania Hall. It began with words from Orientation Coordinator Kayla Julio ’22, who read the Land Acknowledgement Statement, a new addition to the convocation tradition.
Julio advised the first-year class to build meaningful relationships and pursue their passions: “I have learned that college is not a passive experience, but a place where you can challenge yourself to grow into the person you never thought you could be, a place where you can share your ideas, and engage in differences,” she said.
Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Classics Benjamin Luley gave the faculty speech, harkening back to the history of Gettysburg with an emphasis on the “untold stories,” particularly that of Jack Hopkins, the janitor of the College during the Civil War Era, whose house once rested where the convocation was held. Luley is currently working on a research project on campus to dig up the remains of Hopkins’ house; he used the history of Hopkins as the foundation for his speech.
“As you pursue your studies here, I encourage you all to reach out and listen to voices different from your own, and think about what we can learn from the stories that people have forgotten,” Luley said.
President Bob Iuliano addressed the Class of 2025 next, emphasizing the consequential education and the promise the College makes to its students.
“You are about to enter one of the most consequential periods of your life, a time of personal and intellectual growth that will give you great and lasting consequences in all the years of your life to come,” Iuliano said.
Iuliano welcomed the first-years into the community by recognizing the impact of their actions and the opportunities to come over the next four years.
“Just remember, we are here to support you,” he said. “There will always be someone nearby … We are all here to do great work, and ultimately, we need each other. So my charge to you on this opening day of your college experience is to embrace the opportunity before you.”
Provost Chris Zappe led the recitation of the Honor Pledge, then Liv Duffy ’22 sang the alma mater. The Class of 2025 appended their class pins above their hearts before matriculating through the center of Pennsylvania Hall, marking their first steps as official Gettysburg College students.