More than 5,000 incoming students gathered together for the first time on Sunday for New Student Convocation in Carmichael Arena, kicking off their first semester at Carolina.
Chancellor Carol L. Folt presided over the annual ceremony, welcoming first-year and transfer students to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She urged the students to set high goals and to rely on the knowledge and expertise of diverse classmates and faculty members to achieve great things during their years at UNC-Chapel Hill.
“Carolina has a rich tradition of people who set goals and then go on to make even bigger things happen,” she said. “While so much has been accomplished at this historic University, the best truly is yet to come, and you are going to be a part of all that.”
The first-year class of 4,295 students includes the highest number of first-generation college students and students from North Carolina’s rural counties since the University began collecting the data 15 years ago. More than 260 have a military affiliation and 890 will be the first in their families to earn a bachelor’s degree.
The 800 transfer students range in age from 16 to 56 and have an average college GPA of 3.7 on a 4.0 scale.
Kevin Guskiewicz, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, congratulated students on their acceptance to Carolina and spoke on their role within UNC-Chapel Hill’s larger mission to be “passionately public” — a University working toward a better state and a better world.
“Congratulations on being admitted to the world’s greatest global public research university,” he said. “I know it took a lot of hard work to get to this point, and now you are about to begin an adventure of a lifetime.”
During her keynote speech, alumna Meghan Lyons encouraged students to dream big, take risks and make the most of their time at Carolina.
“I’m living proof that pursuing your dream and leaving your mark is possible for each and every one of you,” Lyons said. “The bottom line is, when you’re doing what you love at this special place, anything is possible.”
Following the ceremony, students took part in FallFest, a UNC-Chapel Hill tradition showcasing student organizations, volunteer activities, club sports and recreational league teams available to students across campus.
“Welcome to your new home,” Folt said. “Let’s make your time here special.”