New students in the Class of 2021 arrived on campus on August 27, greeted by cheering New Student Orientation Program (NSOP) leaders who helped them move into their residence halls. Later that evening, the Class of 2021 began its Columbia journey under white tents on Low Plaza at Convocation. Following processions of student leaders and of faculty, alumni marched holding banners denoting their class decades in the Alumni Procession to demonstrate to new arrivals their lifelong connection to Columbia.
Throughout the evening, which included speeches by Columbia College Dean James J. Valentini, Columbia Engineering Dean Mary C. Boyce and Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger, student Orientation Leaders and Residential Advisers cheered emphatically.
In his welcome speech, Valentini said: “Here at Columbia, you will encounter many situations from which you can learn a lot, but only if you do not assess or interpret those situations with preconceptions, assumptions and presumptions. You will also encounter new people here from whom you can learn a great deal, but only if you approach them — and your interactions with them — with Beginner's Mind.”