Wellesley’s 144th Academic Year Begins with Convocation
Spirits were high on September 4 as the Wellesley community came together in the Diana Chapman Walsh Alumnae Hall Auditorium for Convocation, marking the beginning of the new academic year. The celebration included opening remarks from President Paula A. Johnson and addresses by Andrew Shennan, provost and Lia Gelin Poorvu ’56 Dean of the College, and student speakers. Traditional Stepsinging followed.
Yanvalou Drum and Dance Ensemble led the Convocation procession from the Lulu Chow Wang ’66 Campus Center to Alumnae Hall Auditorium. This year, Convocation was held indoors to beat the humidity of a steamy September afternoon.
Students celebrate Convocation with a selfie in front of Alumnae Auditorium.
Tiffany Steinwert, dean of religious and spiritual life, offered a welcoming invocation to kick off the Convocation ceremony.
“As we embark on a new academic year, I urge you to reflect on your own moral mission—the values that you hold dear. Get curious about yourselves—and about each other,” said President Johnson in her Convocation remarks. “In sharing, you may discover new sources of strength. Curiosity may turn out to be a prelude to empathy.”
In his address, Provost Andrew Shennan announced that the Curriculum Committee and Academic Council will vote again on the grade inflation policy at Wellesley. “As I weigh the pros and cons of maintaining the policy,” he said, “I incline to the view that a new approach to expressing our academic standards and expectations of student work would be s step in the right direction, that is in the direction of a more cohesive, generous, thriving, healthy campus.”
Saafia Masoom ’20, College Government interim president, addressed her peers: “There is no singular ‘right’ way to go through college. What matters is that your Wellesley experience is yours to own.”
As Convocation drew to a close and a new school year officially began, students in the front row of Alumnae Auditorum listened to the final words of the afternoon's festivities.
Maya Nandakumar ’19, chief justice of College Government, reflected on free speech, open dialogue, and the Honor Code. “I want to challenge us, as a community, not only to speak more boldly, but also to listen more boldly,” Nandakumar said.
Seniors commemorated their final Convocation as Wellesley undergraduates.