Penn welcomed the Class of 2027 and transfer students at the 2023 Convocation ceremony Monday night.
This year’s Convocation took place for the first time in recent memory at Franklin Field, as opposed to the typical location on College Green, due to ongoing renovations to College Hall. Penn President Liz Magill, Vice Provost and Dean of Admissions Whitney Soule, and Provost John Jackson delivered speeches welcoming the incoming students, and Penny Loafers, Penn Band, and Penn Glee Club performed.
Magill began her speech with an interactive exercise, prompting students in the first row to pass multicolored cards displaying the Class of 2027 logo backward until it reached the back row. Magill questioned if people remembered the color of their cards as well as the ones around them.
Magill said that the idea of how most students only remembered the color of their card represented that “we are hardwired to focus on what’s right in front of us." Instead, Magill said that the Class of 2027 should develop a “fisheye lens” while at Penn and be open to fresh new ideas and a broad perspective.
“Definitely focus on the card in front of you, but don’t lose sight of the brilliant array of cards around you,” Magill said.
Convocation for the Class of 2027 was markedly different from last year’s event, where the ceremony was cut short by over 100 protestors who interrupted Magill’s first Convocation speech. The protestors chanted “Save UC Townhomes” and “Stop Penn-trification!” in an effort to challenge the planned eviction of residents living in the 70 affordable housing units near campus.
University Chaplain Chaz Howard acknowledged that this year's Convocation coincided with the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington, making it an “auspicious day” for students to begin their studies.
Newly appointed Provost John Jackson encouraged students to take advantage of student groups and new opportunities to meet others with different stories than their own. President of the Class of 2024 and Wharton and Engineering senior Toyosi Abu presented the official flag of the Class of 2027.
During the ceremony, messages and photos posted on X – formerly known as Twitter – or Instagram with the hashtag #Penn2027 were displayed on the LED scoreboard behind the podium. After the ceremony, students attended a refreshment ceremony at a tent on Shoemaker Green.
First-year students said that they enjoyed the ceremony.
“[Convocation] was really amazing," Wharton first year Vikram Baliga said. "… I think the scenery was great as well; it was a beautiful day and the background made for great photos.”
Engineering first year Evan Canis echoed Baliga's sentiments and said they appreciated the opportunity to hear from University leadership.
“It’s inspiring to see everybody here together and hear exciting words from the great leadership and membership of UPenn faculty,” Canis said.
Magill's speech inspired Engineering and Wharton first year Patrick Zhou to look forward to his time at Penn.
"I agree with [President Magill] as we often focus on what’s ahead of us and don’t pay attention to everything else around us," Zhou said. "I’m looking forward to the next four years.”