Heads Up: Convocation Fires Up Freshmen and Transfer Students With Icy Conclusion

Posted: August 22, 2014 at 1:58 pm, Last Updated: August 22, 2014 at 5:41 pm

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By Sudha Kamath

President Ángel Cabrera is soaked in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge during Convocation. Photo by Craig Bisacre/Creative Services/George Mason University.

President Ángel Cabrera is soaked in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge during Convocation. Photo by Craig Bisacre/Creative Services/George Mason University.

Convocation, an annual rite of passage to George Mason University, ended with a chill this morning as the Patriot mascot dumped a bucket of ice water on President Ángel Cabrera to the rousing cheers of thousands of freshmen, transfer students, faculty and staff.

Cabrera accepted the ALS Association’s ice bucket challenge from Division of University Life vice president Rose Pascarell, who was the first to get soaked on the Patriot Center stage at the Fairfax Campus.

“It got me so hyped up!” said Christian Aguilar, an incoming theater major and one of the thousands of freshmen and transfer students who were welcomed to Mason Nation today. “I’m full of energy now to start at Mason.”

Katelyn Williams, a biology major, called Convocation “fun and surprising.” She came to Mason for its diversity. “That’s what I’m looking forward to the most…meeting people from all over.”

Thousands of freshmen, transfer students, faculty and staff cheer on a new school year at Convocation. Photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Services/George Mason University.

Thousands of freshmen, transfer students, faculty and staff cheer on a new school year at Convocation. Photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Services/George Mason University.

The event got off to a rousing start with Doc Nix and the Green Machine pep band, followed by speeches from Cabrera; David Wu, Mason’s new provost and executive vice president ; and Phil Abbruscato, Student Government president.

“You’re about to embark on an amazing, amazing journey,” Cabrera told the freshmen and transfer students. “College is going to be all about questioning your beliefs.”

Wu, attending his first Mason Convocation, quipped he was a freshman and a transfer himself to Mason this fall. He likened the Mason Nation experience to visiting an ice cream store. “Figure out how to make the most crazy ice cream sundae,” he challenged. “This is the only time in your life you get to do it!”

A new video featuring incoming students asked “What are you bringing to Mason?”

In an impassioned speech, Wendi Manuel-Scott, director of African and African-American Studies in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, delivered her own challenge to new students: make a difference. “I am certain you didn’t work your butt off in high school to play small at Mason, to be silent at Mason…. Learning that is transformative is demanding,” she insisted to a standing ovation.

Write to Sudha Kamath at skamath@gmu.edu

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