Alvernia University Class of 2021 Arrives


About 400 students began their Alvernia experience Thursday, arriving on campus and moving into residence halls with the help of many volunteer students, alumni, staff and faculty members. After a class picture in front of historic Francis Hall, the full class took part in their first formal gathering — the university's traditional Opening Convocation.

Photo: volunteers move students into residence halls

In welcoming remarks to the students and parents of the incoming Class of 2021, Alvernia president Thomas Flynn urged a packed Convocation crowd to take advantage of the variety of backgrounds and cultures at the university.

"...The diversity of our interests and the differences in points of view form a rich human tapestry," said Flynn. Trust me, we are far from perfect, but at our best as a community we live, learn, work and serve together and treat each other with kindness, compassion and respect. We don’t expect you to be perfect either, but we expect that — whatever your beliefs and attitudes — you will learn how to agree and disagree, and debate and question, and even argue in ways that are respectful of all."

Mirroring remarks to faculty and staff during the university's annual Mission Day earlier this week, President Flynn said that hatred expressed in racism and bigotry has no place at Alvernia.

"Let me be clear: at Alvernia we expect that our students and all of us have many different political views and wide ranging perspectives on important current issues. But rooted in the Franciscan values you have heard about this afternoon, we stand united in unequivocally condemning racism and other forms of bigotry as just plain wrong."

The president also challenged students to explore and broaden, rather than narrow their interests.

"Be alert to opportunities. Stretch yourself. Keep up in your classes; one of the few ways to mess up college is by falling too far behind. Get to know your faculty advisor and your professors. Ask for help when you need it. Remember that the more you engage in your Alvernia experience, the more you will derive from it."

A full slate of events — including major community service expeditions into the City of Reading — will keep Alvernia's new students engaged throughout Orientation Weekend.

Photo: parents say goodbye to students

> Read more in the Reading Eagle

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