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Gast tells Class of 2011: “Now is your chance to explore”

Lehigh President Alice P. Gast addresses the Class of 2011 Sunday night.

On Sunday evening, the eve of setting foot in their first college classes, the 1,165 members of the Class of 2011 were formally welcomed to Lehigh by President Alice P. Gast at the annual first-year convocation at Baker Hall.

“Now is your chance to explore,” Gast told the students. “Now is your chance to seek inspiration from this great institution and the wonderful people here.”

During her speech, Gast offered three main pieces of advice—a roadmap at the start of four years at Lehigh, if you will—to the Class of 2011. Her first tip was for the new students to “find out what you love to do and do it.”

“We excel if we wake up every day and have a passion for what we are doing,” Gast said. “Your four years here will allow you to learn much about the world and about yourself.

“Follow your heart. Do what is right.”

Work hard

Students packed Baker Hall for the convocation.

Secondly, Gast advised the students to take advantage of their next four years in college and to work hard, broaden their horizons and push beyond the limits.

“Yes, there will be late nights at the library, long hours of reading, writing, solving problems,” Gast said, “and you should try to push yourselves to do things that you might be less sure of.”

Her final pearl of wisdom to the Class of 2011 was to really get to know others during their intellectual journey here and to learn from them.

“Your lifelong interests and dreams can be shaped as much by who you know as by what you know,” said Gast. “So be curious. Find out what makes people tick.”

In addition to Gast, Sharon K. Basso, associate vice provost and dean of students; Lloyd H. Steffen, university chaplain; Bethlehem mayor John Callahan; John W. Smeaton, vice provost for student affairs; Leon Washington, dean of admissions and financial aid; and Clark Cohen ’08, Student Senate president, also gave welcoming addresses to the newest members of the Lehigh family.

“I, and all of us, look forward to watching you grow and becoming the best class at Lehigh University,” said Cohen.

Rayanna Azar ’11 left the convocation eager to start her Lehigh classes.

“I hope that this educational journey at Lehigh will broaden my perspectives on subjects that I might've found ‘not so interesting’ in high school,” Azar says. “I hope to be successful in all of my classes and to gain the knowledge I need in order to get a job that I love.”

--Madelyn King

Photos by Theo Anderson

Posted on Wednesday, August 29, 2007

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