“Engage, explore, listen,” President William D. Adams advised at Colby’s 194th Assembly for New Students, a formal academic convocation Sept. 6. As part of orientation, Adams welcomed first-year students plus transfer and exchange students following remarks by Vice President and Dean of Admissions Terry Cowdrey Tuesday afternoon in Lorimer Chapel.
 
Adams used a Steve Jobs quote from 2005 about a college calligraphy course Jobs dropped in on and how that led to the typography that we all use on Macs and PCs today. Jobs said: “None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life,” and, “Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college.”
 
“Exploration—opening oneself up to brand-new things,” Adams said, “is one of the key imperatives of the next few years.”
 
Noting that the first-year assembly and baccalaureate are the bookends of the Colby experience when the president addresses each class, Adams said, “Several years from now, when we meet again in this place, you will be on the verge of assuming your places in the world beyond Colby. Between now and then, you have a singular opportunity, one that will never be repeated in your lifetimes, to focus exclusively on learning and the development of your talents, interests, and basic intellectual capacities. I urge you to seize it.”
 
Full text and audio recording of Adams’s address is online.
 
Dean Cowdrey described the Class of 2015 — 467 on campus and 48 studying abroad in Spain and France — as representing 33 states, the District of Columbia, and “43 countries around the globe, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe.”
 
The address was the culmination of a week-long orientation program. “Getting Connected” was the theme, with the community-engagement (C2IT) program connecting students to the greater Waterville community, COOT (Colby Outdoor Orientation Trips) connecting them with Maine in various ways, and many activities to get them connected to one another and to faculty and staff on campus. Director of Campus Life Jed Wartman said the process went very smoothly, with no major incidents. “The thing that’s been so impressive to me is how our returning students who are back for orientation just shine,” he said.
 
As part of a long-standing tradition, new students signed Colby’s matriculation book following the convocation. Classes for new and returning students begin Wednesday, Sept. 7.