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Coleman tells students to “choose your own adventure”

By Jim Schiff / University Record Intern
Coleman raises her fist at the word 'hail' in the fight song, 'The Victors,' during New Student Convocation. Behind her stands Lester Monts, senior vice provost for academic affairs and a professor in the School of Music. (Photo by Marcia Ledford, U-M Photo Services)

U-M President Mary Sue Coleman welcomed students at Convocation with advice about making the most of their college experience.

“Even from this distance, I can see the spark in your eye that says, ‘here I am—bring it on,’ ” Coleman told the students Thursday at Crisler Arena. “I know exactly how you feel. I’m as excited as you are because I’m new here too, so we’re setting out on a new adventure together.”

She used the Diag as a metaphor for the U-M experience, saying that each path leads to a different journey a student can take. By highlighting the various arts and athletic organizations around campus, Coleman suggested that the opportunities for an enriched college experience are limitless.

The walkways at the Diag “lead to tough programs in every field of study you can imagine,” Coleman said in her brief but enthusiastic speech. “So go ahead and choose your own adventure—you can’t go wrong.”

Coleman illustrated her remarks by using an example from her own life. As an undergraduate chemistry major, she enrolled in studio art classes on a whim. Contrary to her own expectations, she enjoyed the classes and cultivated an interest in something far different from chemistry. At U-M, Coleman said, students will have the opportunity to try something new much like she did.

“Loosen up,” she said. “Explore those tangential paths while you have the chance. You will never regret it.”

She also compared the Diag to broadening one’s horizons and gaining an understanding that the world offers more than one perspective on a problem. An open mind, Coleman said, will lead to success at the University.

She added that the Class of 2006 might be entering with a different set of expectations than its predecessors. The events surrounding Sept. 11, she said, could lead to different student goals and career plans. But Coleman ensured students that the University is “always shifting, always branching in new directions, always adapting to change.” Because of the University’s strength, Coleman said, the possibilities for an entering student are greater than ever before.

Along with Coleman, several other University officials welcomed the Class of 2006. Michigan Student Assembly President Sarah Boot noted how the University’s diverse student body has enriched her experiences. She cited last year’s vigil in remembrance of Sept. 11 as the most remarkable event of her college career, one that joined together nearly 15,000 students.

Director of Undergraduate Admissions Ted Spencer also offered up some statistics about the Class of 2006. Emphasizing their successes in academics, athletics and other endeavors, Spencer assured the audience that the class is the most talented ever to enter the University.

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