The jazz tunes of a five-piece VanderCook College of Music band set an upbeat tone as university leaders welcomed students, parents, faculty, and staff to IIT at the 2012 University Convocation, held on Friday, August 17 in Hermann Hall. President John Anderson, Provost Alan Cramb, Dean of Students Katie Murphy Stetz, SGA President Kelly Lohr (MMAE 4th year), and Alumnus Jimmy Akintonde (ARCH ’95) offered new students encouragement as they begin their new lives at IIT.
“The goal of an IIT education is to prepare you for your first day after graduation and your 25th year after graduation,” said Anderson, who also introduced the audience to the deans of IIT’s colleges and schools. “We will validate your decision [to attend IIT].”
Lohr described how undergraduate years provide students the opportunity to leave a positive mark at the university. She noted how, during her time at IIT, students have pushed for change and “made their ideas a reality,” offering as examples the university’s conversion to Gmail and the development of the IIT community garden.
“Innovation is happening in labs, in studios, and even in things we’re not graded on,” she said. “This is your chance to do something creative.”
Akintonde shared personal stories about his time at IIT—including fun times in The Bog (which his company, UJAMAA Construction, renovated in 2007) and how he met his future wife while a student here. He described how the IIT community continues to enrich his life and asked students to remain active in their alma mater upon graduation. Akintonde gave the students two simple words of advice as they look forward to the start of classes on Monday.
“Calm down,” he said, exhaling slowly. “You’re all going to do just fine.”
Cramb encouraged students to seek the guidance and resources of IIT’s faculty and staff, and to stay involved with the university.
“This is only the beginning of your journey with IIT,” he said. “Forever you will be one of us, and forever we will be proud of you.”