The University Record, September 4, 2001

‘World of Opportunity’ greets incoming class of 2005

By Lesley Harding

The Dicks and Janes, a co-ed student a cappella group, performs at New Student Convocation. The group, which explores different musical genres, has toured at campuses across the nation. For more information on the Dicks and Janes, visit the Web at www.umich.edu/~dandj. (Photo by Martin Vloet, U-M Photo Services)
Hail! Hail! to Michigan’s class of 2005. “You are stronger than any other class in the history of the University,” Ted Spencer, director of undergraduate admissions, told a packed house at New Student Convocation Aug. 30.

It was a sweltering, summer evening as first-year students and their parents gathered for a warm welcome from faculty and staff. This year’s theme was “A World of Opportunity.”

“You are joining a tradition of excellence and you’ve each earned the right to be here,” said Lester Monts, the senior vice provost for academic affairs. And earn it they have. Ted Spencer, director of undergraduate admissions, shared some impressive statistics with the packed Hill Auditorium.

More than 75 percent of the incoming class had an A average in high school. Nearly 70 percent ranked in the top 10 percent of their high school graduating class. About 3,250 students come to the University with college credits through advanced placement courses. And, 205 members of the class of 2005 had perfect scores on at least one section of the ACT college entrance exam.

But it isn’t just their academic portfolio that makes them so impressive. They are a socially and politically conscious group with 30 percent having served in student government offices. 85 percent have participated in volunteer activities and 50 percent playing a musical instrument. An astonishing 10 percent have started a business.

“You are the center of our universe, the core of our world,” said President Lee C. Bollinger. As students begin their college journey, Bollinger urged them to do their best and get the education that will serve them well. His five tips for an extraordinary college experience earned him a few chuckles and plenty of applause.

He told students that the more they learn, the less they think they’ll know. He asked them not to become frustrated with what they don’t know but to become experts with what they do know. His second point of advice was not to be disappointed if they didn’t find all the answers. Bollinger then earned an even greater respect with this freshman class by telling them just what they wanted to hear. He urged them not to study too much and to take advantage of all that the University has to offer. He told them to find the positive side of procrastination because students often do their best work with a deadline looming, and he advised them to take plenty of walks. He said a break from mental exercise for physical exercise keeps creativity alive.

“You are the reason we are here and why this great University exists,” said Bollinger. “Be prepared to open your minds to unexpected possibilities and see the world afresh!”

A new perspective gives students “A World of Opportunity.” They’ll have the chance to meet classmates from 172 countries, all 50 states and from every county in Michigan. “Ann Arbor is the world and the world is Ann Arbor,” said Royster Harper, vice president for student affairs. With such a diverse student body, she urged freshmen to take the time to understand someone who is different from them, learn from them, respect them and appreciate their opinions. She also asked students to have the courage to follow their talents to the places they lead.

Students and parents also heard from Majtaba Navvab, chair of the University Senate, and Matt Nolan, president of the Michigan Student Assembly. Today’s Brass Quintet, The Gentlemen, Dicks and Janes, the Michigan Marching Band and Deborah Selig, a student at the School of Music, provided musical entertainment.