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Celebration of Shared Choice:
College of Business Welcomes Members of the Class of 2008

  

"My four years at Illinois were the most instrumental, important, and best years of my life. You'll meet tremendous people on campus."

Cary McMillan, keynote speaker at 2004 Welcome.Cary McMillan, class of 1980, met his wife at Illinois and formed several life-long friendships. More than a quarter of a century after his arrival on campus as a freshman, he took to the stage at Foellinger Auditorium to serve as the keynote speaker at the inaugural freshmen welcome, hosted by the Cammack Office of Undergraduate Affairs.

McMillan, whose career has included senior positions at Arthur Andersen and Sara Lee Branded Apparel, urged the students to avoid the natural tendency to associate with those people with whom they are most comfortable, saying that college was an opportunity to "think about opening your mind, where the sky is the limit." Reflecting on his experience as an undergraduate, he was frank in his personal assessment, saying that he did not seize the many opportunities available to him as a student.

Exploring new opportunities was a recurring theme in brief presentations from three Business undergrads: Jajah Wu (sophomore, accountancy), Patrick Hatch (junior, accountancy), and Manny Rodriguez (senior, BA-organization administration). "Get out of your dorm room and get involved," said Hatch, who was a spectator at U of I women's volleyball meets as a freshman and who now serves as the team's manager.

On a campus of 37,000+ students -- 3,000 of whom are enrolled in Business -- and with classes that can get as large as 700, Rodriguez told the almost 300 celebration attendees that it is easy to get lost in the crowd. Introducing the concept of faculty office hours, he urged the freshmen to make the effort to get to know their professors and to meet with college staff members, particularly the academic advisors in the departments and undergraduate affairs office.

Representing the faculty, Professor of Accountancy Ira Solomon told the students that their classes, led by faculty "at the top of their game," will take them "beyond the textbooks to new ideas and knowledge." He promised that the professors will "help you learn how to think as business professionals, but not what to think."

Calling the event a celebration of the future, Dean Avijit Ghosh said that the students, faculty, and staff share a "mutual destiny" during the 1,373 days before the undergraduates receive their diplomas as members of the class of 2008.

"Feel proud, because you are special," said Ghosh. "College is a watershed of your life."

More photos of the first College of Business Freshman Welcome are online!

 

--Ginny Hudak-David
August 2004

--Pat Shell, photos