‘You are here for such a time as this’

Wise words to the Class of 2020

Leaders of the Washington University in St. Louis community gathered in the Athletic Complex for the annual Convocation Aug. 25 to celebrate the Class of 2020 and to offer its 1,780 members advice and encouragement. Here are some of their words of wisdom:

WashU Convocation on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2016. James Byard/WUSTL Photos
The Class of 2020 gathers at Convocation. (All photos by James Byard/Washington University)

“Here is your first quiz: Is the Class of 2020 in the house? Congratulations. You just received your first ‘A’ at Washington University. Enjoy it.”  — Faculty speaker Lerone Martin, assistant professor of religion and politics at the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics

WashU Convocation on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2016. James Byard/WUSTL Photos
Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton arrives at Convocation.

“You are not in competition with your classmates. Your own goals should be your guideposts.”  — Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton

Student keynote speaker Yaala Muller addresses the crowd during Convocation on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2016. James Byard/WUSTL Photos
Student speaker Yaala Muller at Convocation.

“Remember that there is no single path to WashU. You might not even be able to guess what those around you have been through to get here. So, when in doubt, ask. Don’t settle for your own assumptions, as they will not substitute the truth.”  — Yaala Muller, senior in the College of Arts & Sciences 

WashU Convocation on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2016. James Byard/WUSTL Photos
Unfolding the Class of 2020 banner.

“Your students will find their way as long as you get out of the way. It’s a difficult task as parents let go. Our best advice is to provide support when requested, but to otherwise step back and have faith that the wonderful adults you raised will find their way.” — Clarissa Weirick of the Parents Council 

WashU Convocation on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2016. James Byard/WUSTL Photos
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Lori White (center) with faculty speaker Lerone Martin (left) and Student Union President Kenneth Sng (right).

“Pursue your passion — not that kind of passion; your academic passion. Find a field of study that you are excited about and resolve to put all of your time and energy into being an engaged and intellectually curious student.” — Lori White, vice chancellor for student affairs

WashU Convocation on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2016. James Byard/WUSTL Photos
A parent’s view of Convocation from the upper bleachers in the Field House.

“To the student who’s been sleeping with one eye open waiting for the admissions office to realize they a made a mistake: To you I say, there is no mistake. You are here for such a time as this.” — Lerone Martin 

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