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SLU-Madrid Welcomes New Billikens at Convocation

SLU-Madrid extended an official welcome to the 158 newest members of our community — the Class of 2022, new transfer students and the third class of University of Delaware World Scholars — at the annual Convocation and Family Welcome.

The SLU-Madrid community gathered on Padre Arrupe Patio to extend an official welcome to new students.

SLU-Madrid director and academic dean Paul Vita, Ph.D. spoke of the importance of applying lessons learned in class to real-life situations.

After an invocation led by James O´Leary, S.J., SLU-Madrid chaplain, master of ceremonies Jaime Ortiz, assistant dean, introduced the speakers including University President Fred Pestello, Ph.D.; 2013 graduate Katherine Espinosa; Heidi Buffington, director of admissions; Michael Atieh, Student Government Association President; Kevin Ingram, Ph.D., president of the Faculty Senate; and Paul Vita, Ph.D., director and academic dean of SLU-Madrid.

Highlights from the ceremony included Espinosa's theatrical delivery of an anecdote about the fear and anxiety she experienced upon receiving medical results she didn’t understand during her first year in Spain. She charged the new students to “turn down the volume of fear and insecurity to make space for curiosity.”

Buffington also awed the audience with information from admissions applications, demonstrating the depth, talent and diversity of the incoming students, whose interests range from competitive sailing to technology startups, mentoring children with autism and much more.

And, in a video recording, Pestello addressed the new students directly, urging them to each take advantage of the opportunity to receive a rigorous, values-based Jesuit education, serve a higher purpose and establish their own personal mission.

Vita brought the ceremony to a close with words of empowerment for using Jesuit education to change the world for the better: “We’re here to train you to think analytically and to develop research skills so that you can respond to a complex, diverse and changing society in the future. And we hope and pray that when issues of social justice and human rights are at stake, this thinking, this application of knowledge, will lead to informed action.”