Plans are being finalized now for this year’s opening ceremonies, the Scholars Bridge Crossing & Convocation.
Incoming students should meet at the dining commons at 1:45 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 30. Once everyone is gathered, a procession will march up Scholars Lane, across the bridge, and into the Dr. Lakireddy Auditorium for Convocation. Returning students, faculty and staff will greet the new students at the bridge and follow them to the auditorium.
The bridge crossing commemorates the one held on opening day, Sept. 5, 2005, and is also remembered at graduation, when new graduates cross back over the bridge together to signify the end of their educational journey at UC Merced.
Convocation officially begins at 2 p.m.
Convocation, a tradition on many campuses, is a way to kick off the new year, said organizer Stefani Martinez, alumni affairs coordinator.
At UC Merced, Convocation brings together students, faculty and staff and gives incoming students an opportunity to participate in the tradition of ceremonially crossing Scholars Bridge into their new university, she said.
Convocation is open to all students, faculty and staff. Provost Keith Alley will welcome attendees, Chancellor Steve Kang will offer a state-of-the-campus speech and incoming Undergraduate Student Body President Uday Bali will address the gathering, too.
Though many college campuses hold convocations at the beginning of each academic year, few can boast that it’s a tradition that began the very first year they opened.
What makes our Convocation unique is the tradition of the Scholar’s Bridge Crossing, Martinez said, When students first start at UC Merced, they walk across the bridge toward their university and symbolically join with continuing students, faculty and staff at the first formal assembly of the entire campus.
They come full circle when they receive their degrees and cross back over Scholars Bridge, leaving campus and entering the next phases in their lives.