Holy Names University welcomed more than 120 new students for move-in and the beginning of orientation on Saturday, August 23. There were a number of events over the course of the weekend for incoming students and their families, including the Rite of Passage, dinner with President William J. Hynes, PhD, dessert with the Sisters, academic workshops, and small-group orientation sessions.
As part of a continuing effort to support students who are the first in their families to attend college, the University initiated “We are the First,” a program intended to welcome and connect first-generation students. During move-in, orientation staff hosted a table near the entrance to Dunn Hall where students could obtain information about “We are the First” and pick up a button designed for the program. HNU faculty and staff who were also first-generation college students were encouraged to wear “We are the First” buttons during the first week of classes to facilitate connections and conversations.
On Saturday afternoon, incoming students were gathered in Corrigan Courtyard in preparation for their first HNU tradition, the Rite of Passage. Michael S. Miller, vice president for student affairs and enrollment management, made welcoming remarks and explained how the Rite of Passage marks the beginning of each new student’s HNU experience.
Admissions staff then led the students up the steps from the courtyard to the chapel while family and friends, who were lined up along the stairs, cheered them on. As they made their way up the hill, new students found their names written on the steps in colored chalk—the contribution of the senior class, which maintains the tradition each year of marking the students’ names on the steps the night before the Rite of Passage. President Hynes then greeted the new students at the top of the steps and directed them toward the Public Market for their first official dinner on campus.
After the new students and their families were seated in the Public Market, Sister Carol Sellman led everyone in a brief prayer. Lizbeth J. Martin, PhD, vice president for academic affairs, welcomed the students and families to campus and introduced President Hynes.
In his welcoming remarks, President Hynes spoke about the Rite of Passage and how the tradition ties into the values of the HNU community. “Your names are written on our steps in chalk and, as long as it doesn’t rain, your names will stay there for a few months. But we are hoping you make a more lasting mark here on campus and in the world after graduation. Above all, be inquisitive and altruistic. We want you to ask questions, help others, and always reach out to the broader community,” he said.
Orientation activities continued over the next week with a community barbecue event on August 26, a showing of the movie Finding Nemo in Corrigan Courtyard on August 27, a student dance on August 29, and an outing to see the Oakland Athletics play the Seattle Mariners on September 2.