As their first weekend on campus drew to a close, the Hobart Class of 2018 gathered in Albright Auditorium on Sunday evening for the Hobart Matriculation Ceremony where they were officially deemed members of Hobart College and welcomed into the community by HWS faculty, alumni and fellow students.
“You join today the many thousands of men, who have since 1822 been proud to have studied at Hobart and loved it here,” said Dean of Hobart College Eugen Baer P’95, P’97, HON’07. “I hope you feel some of the pride and excitement today, of having made it into college, becoming a Hobart Statesman and starting classes tomorrow.”
Hobart Matriculation is a tradition that began with the College’s foundation in 1822, and has since been a way to honor the “shared commitment to each other” that resonates between the students, the College, and the more than 13,000 Hobart College alumni. Included in the ceremony is the traditional Roll Call of Matriculants, in which each student is called to receive a certificate of matriculation and touch the Oar of Agayentah that marks them as Hobart brothers.
Chaplain Lesley Adams HON’12 compared matriculation to a marriage, describing it as a “public ceremony of commitment between both the College and the students. As the Colleges strive to provide students with the best education possible, Adams reminded the Class of 2018 that they must “lead a life worthy” of those who walked the halls before them.
President Mark D. Gearan also reminded students of the commitment the Colleges hold to students and the importance of fostering a culture of respect on campus. “Our pledge to you is to honor that trust, to honor that decision that you’ve made to come to Hobart College, and to provide worlds of education with the expectation that you’ll go on to lead a life of consequence,” he said.
After Gearan’s welcome, the ceremony proceeded with the Roll Call of Matriculants, given by Senior Associate Director of Admissions William Warder ’96. Each student was called to receive his certificate and touch the oar, which Baer explains is a sign of the 200-year-old friendship between Hobart College and the original six tribes of the Iroquois Confederacy. The touching of the oar symbolizes the first step taken towards graduation, at which time each student will receive a replica of the Oar of Agayentah that marks them as a lifelong alum of Hobart College.
The second portion of the ceremony included remarks from President of the Alumni Association Dr. Jeremy Cushman ’96. He assured students that the Hobart alumni, who they now join as brothers, will always “have your back.”
“You are now a part of something that is much more powerful than an individual, you are a part of the Hobart family,” said Cushman. “It’s a brotherhood that stretches through 192 years of remarkable heritage and tradition. Some of you come from large families, but I assure you the Hobart family is the largest of all. Thirteen-thousand brothers, all of whom have led a life of consequence.”
The Class of 2018 also heard from fellow students Henry Smith ’15, Hobart Student Government president, and Paul Ciaccia ’15, orientation coordinator. Smith urged his classmates to “take risks,” and reminded them that they will fail over the next four years, but that college is a test of “how you pick yourself up.” Ciacca advised the new students to get involved on campus and to find a way to “ingrain” themselves in Hobart tradition and culture.
Dean of First Year students David Mapstone ’93 was the keynote speaker for the ceremony. He touched on the mission of the College – to build men of character – and reminded students of how this mission is represented in the College’s symbol of the Hobart “Statesmen.”
“I would like to suggest that our mission is ultimately about developing men of character, so for you newly minted men of Hobart it is quite easy to find constant reminders of our mission through the actions of our alumni and your fellow students,” said Mapstone. “Interestingly our mission and values are even found in our nickname, the Statesmen. The concept of Statesmen represents Hobart as a college, Hobart as a group of men. It transcends athletics, and captures the essence of what a Hobart man strives to be.”
The ceremony was followed by the John Henry Hobart Dinner, as the Hobart Class of 2018 gathered together for their first meal as official Hobart “brothers.”