As summer ended for the class of 2017, featured speaker Chitra Divakaruni and University President the Rev. Scott Pilarz spoke to the freshman class at the annual convocation about upcoming opportunities.
Divakaruni, author of “One Amazing Thing,” was the first to address the students. Over the summer the incoming freshman class was required to read the book, which follows a group of people forced to find their common humanity while trapped in an Indian embassy.
Divakaruni felt this message was important for the incoming freshman class because starting college allows for a new beginning.
“To become a community you must share your story and listen to common humanity,” Divakaruni said.
Pilarz began his address explaining that right now is an extraordinary time to become a college student. His speech focused on the themes of Pope Francis’ address to the crowd at World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro.
“If you put on faith, hope and love, your horizons will illuminate,” Pilarz said.
Pilarz challenged each freshman to dive into the core curriculum and work as hard as they can to learn about themselves and the world. He also wants each student to begin thinking about studying abroad, encouraging them to learn a new language and travel to a foreign place that challenges their way of life.
Before the convocation began, Martin Chakkalamuri, a freshman in the College of Engineering, said he was already looking forward to sharing his background and entering a new environment.
“I’d like to make a lot of friendships with a diverse group of people,” Chakkalamuri said. “It’d be nice to break out of a bubble.”
Michael Tayo, a freshman in the College of Engineering, expects to immediately engage with everything the Marquette community has to offer.
“Hopefully, they all help me and I help them,” Tayo said. ”Kind of a give-give (situation).”
Pilarz also reiterated the theme of Divakaruni’s novel, describing how each student is presented with a new opportunity to develop his or her own life story and share it with others.
“You are all practically blank slates,” Pilarz said. “You are ready to begin in earnest to start the story of your life.”
David Bielinski, a freshman in the College of Engineering, said he sees the opportunity that Marquette presents to him.
“I have high expectations for myself and the professors and staff,” Bielinski said. “Marquette has a good reputation, and I hope that everyone will work to keep up that reputation of excellence.”
Pilarz concluded his address by emphasizing how important the next four years will be for personal and academic development and why each student should approach this with urgency, quoting Martin Luther King Jr.
“Live with the fierce urgency of now,” Pilarz said.