Different moments throughout a student’s transition to college will remind them that they are welcomed and celebrated in their new college community, from feeling at home in their dorm room to their first outing with a new group of friends. For the Ithaca College Class of 2026, Wednesday’s Convocation celebration brought that sentiment of belonging to life.
Some 1,400 first-year and transfer students officially began their Ithaca College journeys, entering Glazer Arena in the Athletics & Events Center to the sound of thunderous applause and cheers from the faculty and staff members lined up to greet them.
“It really felt good to be welcomed like that,” said Liam Kearney, a music education major from East Islip, New York. “It makes you feel like you’re meant to be here.”
Once students, faculty, staff, and honored guests had processed into their seats, accompanied by performers from the West African Drumming and Dance Ensemble, keynote speakers took to the stage to formally welcome the students and impart words of wisdom to carry with them over the next four years.
An overarching theme throughout the speakers’ remarks was the encouragement for students to embrace the unknown and explore all the opportunities available to them at IC throughout their time on South Hill. Melanie Stein, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, highlighted this topic during her opening remarks.
“I want to remind you that college, and life, is all about exploring,” said Stein. “In your IC journey, I encourage you to explore. Explore our rich curriculum. Take classes with different departments or schools, and engage with people who seem different from you. Explore activities both on and off campus. Explore Ithaca and the natural beauty of this region. Cross every boundary you can, because you never know where your exploring may lead and where you’ll discover something that truly excites you.”