Today, as you enter into your academic home, I share some observations about the Olympics as a context for Orientation and Matriculation.
Two weeks ago we heard the ancient call of the Olympics: Let the Games Begin.
Today, your Orientation theme is: Your Journey Begins Here.
The Olympics build on an ancient tradition of athletic excellence. Carlow University builds on the long-standing traditions of intellectual inquiry and integrity, values, and service.
The Olympics celebrate an Opening Ceremony where the athletes’ march into the stadium with anticipation, anxiety, and energy…tested, qualified, and eager to compete. You marched to St. Agnes today to celebrate your entry into your academic majors, probably with anticipation and anxiety, and I hope, with energy….tested, qualified, and eager to learn.
The Journey of the athletes is both physical and geographical; it is a daily personal journey which culminates in a journey to a world-wide event held every four years.
Your journey is both physical and intellectual; you journey from different locations to Carlow University, and your intellectual journey will culminate in an event in about four years.
Athletes embark on this journey to express the human form at its physical best. You embark on your college education to experience your human nature at its intellectual best.
During the Olympics, athletes continue training, and qualify for advancement to higher levels through a range of tests in which they demonstrate skills, endurance and character. During your time at Carlow, you will be engaged in continuous learning, and qualify for advancement to higher levels through various tests which will demonstrate your skills, endurance and character.
Both Olympic athletes and Carlow students travel this journey with many companions, coaches and supporters…all seeking the same goal of success…all serving the participants in their pursuit of excellence. At Carlow, you will travel with faculty as facilitators of your learning, and with staff who provide support and encouragement.
But, as is true for Olympians, you are the one responsible for your performance and for your learning. You must become an active participant in your development and success. You must apply the required discipline to achieve the desired reward. As is true of athletes, you are the one who must endure, perform, experience, and excel. You alone can achieve your personal best. Athletes do not win medals, nor do graduates receive diplomas, by being observers.
In the Olympics, athletes compete for themselves, for records, for their sport, and for their country. You are engaged in academic pursuits for your own enrichment and good, but also for the good of others whom you will serve in your profession. Your Carlow University education is designed to develop your full human potential as an individual and for your community. As you progress on your journey and participate in this educational process, you will experience an increase in knowledge, a deepening of values and opportunities for service.
The Olympics host a Closing Ceremony to celebrate the accomplishments of the athletes, many of whom proudly wear their various medals as their symbols of achievement. All athletes leave the Olympics changed: more experienced, more accomplished, with new relationships and new perspectives. Your closing ceremony will be Commencement, where we will celebrate academic success by awarding diplomas, the symbol of achievement, to all graduates. You will proudly display this recognized symbol of achievement. You will leave Carlow University changed: more educated, more accomplished, with new relationships and new perspectives.
We warmly welcome you to Carlow University! Let the games begin! Your journey begins here!
-- Dr. Mary Hines, President, Carlow University