Convocation ceremony welcomes new USC Aiken freshman

AIKEN — Hundreds of new freshmen gathered around the historic quad fountain at the University of South Carolina Aiken on Aug. 23 as they awaited their official induction into the Class of 2027.

The more than 600 students started their official introduction to campus with the traditional walk from the quad fountain to the Convocation Center for the annual Freshman Convocation ceremony. The event, which started in 2016, was designed to inspire and motivate students before the school year starts, according to a news release from USC Aiken.

“To make the most of this experience, you need to make the most of this opportunity,” said Brian Parr, professor of exercise and sports science.

Parr also mentors undergraduate students in exercise science research. 

“This is your best chance to get out of your comfort zone and try new things,” he said.  

Chancellor Daniel Heimmermann and Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Thayer McGahee also gave remarks along with Student Government Association President Judson Pickett Jr. 

Members of the freshman class at the University of South Carolina gathered Aug. 23 for the annual freshman convocation. Courtesy photo

“The most successful students are the ones that ask for help,” McGahee said.

Javier Escartin, a sophomore majoring in exercise and sports science who hopes to eventually pursue a career as a physician’s assistant, was one of the keynote speakers,

“As a student, I encourage you to strive towards your goals and make our community better,” Escartin said.

Several students shared their excitement about coming to USC Aiken.

“My whole family works in health care. I’ve always had a passion for taking care of people,” said Alli Bishop from St. Louis. She’s a nursing major and member of the women’s volleyball team.

Rory Schuler, a biology major and another member of the women’s volleyball team, also hopes to make an impact in the medical field.

The ceremony ended as the freshmen were divided into their schools and colleges to learn more about their majors. They also had the opportunity to purchase textbooks, and receive their student IDs and parking passes.

USC Aiken classes started on Thursday, Aug. 24.

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