Iowa Alumni Magazine | October 2009 | People

Welcome to Iowa

By Tina Owen

It was a uniquely Midwestern mix of formal ceremony and family gathering. On August 23, 2009, the University of Iowa revived the tradition of a convocation ceremony to celebrate the arrival on campus of the class of 2013.

Seated on the green lawn in front of Old Capitol, some 4,000 incoming students pondered the opportunities, transitions, and transformations that lay ahead. President Sally Mason and other gown-clad administrators and faculty members officially welcomed the newcomers into the Hawkeye family—and issued a challenge.

The IOWA Challenge aims to help students succeed in the classroom and beyond. Developed by the UI's Student Success Team, a group of students, faculty, and staff working to enhance undergraduate education, the Challenge (http://thechallenge.uiowa. edu) encourages students to follow five principles: excel, stretch, engage, choose, and serve. It's just one of a number of programs designed to help students ease into their new life and become transformed by their time at Iowa.

Of course, colleges offer more than academic challenges. It's a heady time of self-discovery and personal growth, new friendships and unexpected discoveries. "There is a wealth of opportunities here at the UI," President Mason told the gathered crowds. "I urge you to seek out new opportunities and to discover your passion outside the classroom."

Afterwards, bathed in the radiant glow of the setting sun, the hordes of students made their way to an official Welcome Week block party around the President's House on Church Street. There, President Mason mingled with Dance Marathon members and other students, while everyone enjoyed the festive atmosphere.

With the Iowa Fight Song ringing in their ears, members of the Class of 2013 embarked on their new lives as Hawkeyes.