One of SUNY Oswego’s most revered traditions greeted more than 2,000 of the newest students as the glow of hundreds of small candles moved like waves throughout the Marano Campus Center.
The Commencement Eve Torchlight tradition started in the 1930s. SUNY Oswego added Welcoming Torchlight in 1989, and on Aug. 22 the incoming freshmen and transfer students shared in the 25th year.
“This ceremony, which passes on to you the Torch of Learning, begins your academic career at Oswego,” SUNY Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley told the crowd of mostly freshmen and transfer students. “You are joined this evening by your faculty and staff members, who will undertake your journey of learning with you – for we are truly a community of learners.
“Look to them,” Stanley added. “Share with them your aspirations, your frustrations – and your celebrations.”
Students were welcomed by Nicole Schnorr ’15, who served as emcee for the event. Tucker Sholtes ’15, president of the Student Association, lit the Torch of Learning with President Stanley.
Anja Godlewski-Dykes ’15 greeted the newest students by recalling her own experience three years ago. She said she remembered how sudden it felt at first to be away at college. But she added that fellow students, faculty, staff and even alumni made her feel welcome, as they will for this year’s students.
“As many of you are about to begin your first year of college, I am about to begin my last. I only have one more year here at SUNY Oswego. One more year of making memories. One more year of Oswego sunsets. All of you have years to enjoy these things, and I’m telling you they will be the fastest years of your life.”
– Anja Godlewski-Dykes ’15
She also encouraged new students to participate in campus activities. She urged them to take chances, meet people and make friends and memories.
“In a few years you will be where I am,” Godlewski-Dykes said. “A senior in college, welcoming new students, giving them advice and having to reflect on your time here at Oswego. I am very proud of everything that I have accomplished so far, and I hope that in a few years you will be, too.
“Oswego will open many doors for you, but it’s up to you to walk through them.”
—Edwin Acevedo M’09