Convocation ceremony starts academic year

Convocation crowd

Students and families filled the North Creek Events Center. / Marc Studer photos 

Convocation formally launched the 2018-19 University of Washington Bothell academic year and welcomed hundreds of first-year and transfer students to campus. Chancellor Wolf Yeigh — along with Leah Shin, president of the Associated Students of the University of Washington Bothell — welcomed the undergraduates to campus.

Yeigh led the ceremonial academic procession of deans and other campus leaders before an audience of students and their family members Sept. 23 in the Activities and Recreation Center. This was the 13th year for the UW Bothell Convocation, a highlight of Welcome Week. Fall classes began Wednesday, Sept. 26. 

This fall there are approximately 840 new first-year students — members of the class of 2022 — and 900 transfer students. The new arrivals also include more than 160 international students. 

Almost half of the incoming students are the first in their families to attend college, Yeigh noted, assuring those who might be apprehensive that they do belong and will receive the services they need. 

Chancellor Wolf Yeigh“You deserve to be here,” Yeigh said. “You are fully capable of being successful. Stay focused, work hard, challenge yourself, and I guarantee you will succeed.” 

The chancellor also advised students to “enjoy this time in your life” and “stretch your limits” while in college. 

“Challenge, dispute, confront, assert and listen,” Yeigh said. “As an institution of higher education, our goal is not to win an argument. Our ultimate goal is to find truth, to grow knowledge, to advance the human condition.” 

Karam Dana, associate professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences and recipient of the 2018 distinguished teaching award, was the day’s featured speaker. He urged students to take empathy and patience into their hearts and minds. 

Leah ShinShin, who has also served as an ASUWB senator, director of public relations, and vice president, told students to share their passions for what they really love and to seize every opportunity. “Make sure every second and every penny counts,” she said. 

Leah Shin, Wolf YeighConvocation closed with a campus tradition: Students received a UW Bothell pin from Yeigh and Shin as their names were read. After their welcome to the Husky family, the students had a group photo taken on the sports field. Then it was on to music, food and photos at the chancellor’s picnic on the Plaza. 

“We’re excited to have another Husky in the family,” said Pete Colella, a Husky who competed for UW in swimming and now works as a swim coach. He and his wife, Katie, accompanied their son, Josaiah Clark, who is a transfer student from Cascadia College. 

“This was the only school I applied to,” said Josaiah Clark, a Kenmore resident. “It might seem I was putting all my chips on one school, but it was worth it to me, and it motivated me to try much harder. I heard about UW Bothell’s reputation. I was focusing very hard on getting here.” 

Interested in mechanical engineering, Clark is looking forward to using the Makerspace workshop and joining the Trickfire Robotics Club. “It gives me an outlet to be creative,” he said. “As an engineering major, that’s what I want, something to tinker with.” 

Looking around the picnic to introduce himself to people in mechanical engineering, Clark said he felt “super excited” to be part of a school “where I’m going to be known.” 

Greeting studentsWhile first-year student Amanda Edwards was visiting nearby with her future classmates, her parents, Cristina and Efren Edwards, took in the vibrant atmosphere. “We were impressed at how each student was called to the stage by name,” said Efren Edwards. “It sent a strong message that the school has a vested interest in each student’s success.” 

Photo: New students celebrated.

“We are big fans of UW Bothell,” said Cristina Edwards. “It was the perfect fit for our oldest son, who graduated in 2015 and just passed the bar exam. We are optimistic it will also be the perfect fit for our daughter. She’s eager to not only start working toward her degree but also to participating in the many student groups and activities we heard about today.” 

Quentin McKee didn’t know what to expect from convocation but was glad his son, Aumajuss, told his parents about it. “We really enjoyed what the speakers were saying, and we were made to feel a part of the community.” 

They believe their son made a good choice to attend UW Bothell. “We wanted him to go to the University of Washington. We like the classroom size, the facilitators, how they talk about the school. We really enjoy this community’s set-up,” McKee said. 

Aumajuss McKee, a first-year student interested in mechanical engineering and biology, looked up at Discovery Hall, the home of the School of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics. 

“It’s new. It looks like there are a lot of resources for students,” he said. “My impression of the school is it’s a place with a lot of opportunity for students — new and growing. I can see it changing in the years I’m here, so that will be fun.” 

The McKee family lives in Silverdale, and Aumajuss has moved into campus housing. 

Fellow student Huber Guerrero also just moved to campus from his home in Moses Lake where he took Running Start classes at Big Bend Community College. After working over the summer as a welder at Genie Industries, a maker of industrial hoists, the first-year student became interested in mechanical engineering. 

School advisers told him UW Bothell was a friendly campus, and that’s what he found at convocation. “It felt like home already.”

Banners for the five UW Bothell schools

Banners for the five UW Bothell schools. / Marc Studer photos


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