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Ohio State community celebrates newest incoming class

Students urged to learn and engage, together

Before an assembled crowd of incoming first-year, transfer and new graduate students, Melissa Shivers, senior vice president for the Office of Student Life at The Ohio State University led students in the traditional “O-H” “I-O” chant. The audience came together for the 2023 convocation, which allows university administrators, faculty and staff to address the newest Buckeyes for the first time.

While the cheer is fun, Shivers said, it’s also a reminder of how strong the Buckeye community is.

Students at the 2023 convocation


“There is something very comforting about that,” she said. “It means we are a family. The thing about that cheer is you can’t do it alone. You rely on others to complete the circle. You rely on others.”

Community was a common theme during the morning’s remarks. Council of Graduate Students Jorge Clavo Abbass spoke about the opportunities available at the university: academic, social, professional and more. The key to making the most of them, though, is to engage with fellow students, he said.

“You will be inspired in unexpected ways, and you will have the opportunity to nurture and follow your passions. But this will only happen if you get involved. This will only happen if you lead with compassion and kindness. And this will only happen if you let yourself be challenged and grow from those around you.”

Executive Vice President and Provost Melissa Gilliam encouraged students to explore, reminding them that Ohio State offers more than 12,000 classes. With so many options, she said, it is likely that students will encounter ideas with which they disagree. The key is to respond respectfully. This is one of the cornerstones of the university’s Shared Values Initiative.

A student looks at his scarlet and gray tassel. All incoming students received them as gifts from the Alumni Association.


“Learning to communicate and respect people no matter their background or identity is essential,” she said. “Ohio State is never satisfied with the status quo. You must know that, or you would not be here. We are always seeking to be better, to contribute more, to aim higher.”

Undergraduate Student Government president Bobby McAlpine echoed the importance of interacting with and supporting fellow students. He spoke of his freshman year and the difficulties he overcame thanks to help from the Ohio State community

McAlpine asked students to look to their left and to their right and encouraged them to meet their peers.

“I want you to ask yourself as you see these people, ‘How can I make sure that they make it to graduation at Ohio State?’”

After convocation, an undergraduate class will typically not be together again until commencement. Alumni Association President and CEO Molly Ranz Calhoun told students that that day would arrive soon enough. In the meantime, they should soak up all that they can at the university. The Buckeye experience is a lifelong one, she said.

“I can tell you with certainty: What starts here never ends.”

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