On Tuesday, September 1, Holy Cross kicked off the fall semester with the first day of classes as the College began the year with all students engaging in remote learning. The College welcomed students, including the newest members of the Holy Cross community entering as part of the Class of 2024, to the start of the academic year with an email from Rev. Philip L. Boroughs, S.J., president of the College.
“Connection is an important theme for us as we enter a fall semester unlike any in the 177-year history of the College,” said Fr. Boroughs in a letter to the campus community on Tuesday. “While most of us won’t be able to connect in person, we will continue to learn, to challenge and support each other, to engage with the world, and to grow as a community. Our success as a community depends on our shared responsibilities and our individual commitment to following the health and safety guidelines wherever we might reside for the fall semester.”
While the start of the semester looked very different than in years past, familiar College traditions were underway virtually. The Student Government Association, the Office of Student Involvement and the Office of Multicultural Education, among many others, held kickoff events for the programming that will run throughout the semester, and the Office of Multicultural Education’s #FirstGenCollegeGrad campaign began this week. Other virtual events included group support sessions by the Counseling Center, a gathering of the student-run Eco-Action group and a discussion of the first-year class book. Later this month, the annual Mass of the Holy Spirit, held to welcome and bless the incoming class and mark the start of a new academic year, will be streamed live on YouTube on September 13, and a virtual “Stay at Homecoming” will be held from September 18-20.
On Monday evening, first-year students gathered virtually for the First-Year Student Convocation with Fr. Boroughs delivering remarks and welcoming the class to the community. The event, streamed live from St. Joseph Memorial Chapel, highlighted the breadth of gifts of the 735 students of the Class of 2024, who hail from 33 states and 10 countries. Students speak 21 different languages at home in addition to English, including Spanish, Mandarin, Arabic, Vietnamese, Portuguese, Italian and French, and the class includes 99 first-generation college students. In particular, many of the students in the Class of 2024 enter Holy Cross with strong background in service, with experience volunteering in hospitals, contributing at local shelters and even working on legislation to improve the lives of families without financial means. Students from the Class of 2024 have participated in service works in places such as Appalachia, the Dominican Republic, Tanzania, New York City and Worcester, and have worked for organizations including United Way, Habitat for Humanity, Boys and Girls Clubs, Best Buddies, the Special Olympics and the Nativity School of Boston as summer camp counselors, tutors and mentors.
In addition to Fr. Boroughs, remarks were offered by Michele Murray, vice president for student affairs and dean of students; Constance Royden, class dean for the Class of 2024 and professor of mathematics and computer science; rising senior Elena Benassi ’21; and class chaplain Rev. Keith Maczkiewicz, S.J., who offered a prayer of thanksgiving. Margaret Freije, provost and dean of the College, noted to the class: “Even though we cannot gather together in person, we are still a community—a community that welcomes you and a community that needs each of you: your energy and curiosity, your intelligence and perseverance. We need you if we are to become the community we are called to be.”
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