Crowds of freshmen, faculty and family gathered in masked masses at Agganis Arena last Sunday to formally recognize the Class of 2025’s matriculation into Boston University.
More than 5,000 estimated attendees — among which had thousands of new students dressed in red BU shirts — flooded into Agganis in celebration not only for the start to their BU academic career, but of being in-person together for the ceremony.
College of Arts and Sciences freshman David Kotton said he loved the ceremony and said the masks did not diminish his enjoyment of matriculating.
“I was really excited to be able to be in that huge group and feel like I was a part of the whole class,” Kotton said, “and also still feel safe.”
Kenneth Elmore, associate provost and dean of students at BU, said the Matriculation ceremony was the first large-scale in-person event at BU in more than a year and a half. He asked the audience to attend to COVID-19 precautions to uphold the health and safety of the BU community.
“This signifies a major step in the full reopening of this vibrant residential research university,” Elmore said at the event.
The speakers talked about the COVID-19 pandemic and the Delta variant, racial justice and the triumph of starting college despite difficult realities continuing to persist.
Nyah Jordan, student body president, said to the Agganis crowd that the political and medical heartbreak of the past year has taught this freshmen class they can survive to create and define their own success however they want.
“When I look into this audience,” Jordan said, “I see an actress, I see a congresswoman, I see an activist, I see a professional hockey player, I see a musical artist, and entrepreneur, and engineer, and so much more.”
Reflecting on when she failed to capture the College of General Studies student government presidency in her speech, Jordan said her loss was the best thing that could have happened to her because it led to her current success as BU student body president.
“You have no idea how much potential you hold right now,” Jordan said. “We are all excited to see what you have to bring to the table this year.”
Professor and Vice-Chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering Catherine Klapperich said college is a place where happenstance can change your life forever, noting when she decided to suddenly study engineering because of a chance glance at a scientist looking through a microscope, which ignited her passion for science.
“A serendipitous meeting, a life-changing moment, it could only have happened in person,” she said. “Those moments await you around every turn here at Boston University.”
BU President Robert Brown said to the audience that it was an unexpected honor to matriculate in person. He said climate change, systemic racism and COVID-19 are the trials this current class of students must face through their four years attending BU.
“Your education at Boston University in all of its forms, in the classroom, in the laboratories, in gathering with students and faculty, internships and discussions with close friends, will prepare you to embrace these challenges to succeed and, I hope, lead.”
Brown also said much about the prevalence of COVID-19 and the importance of vaccines, BU’s efforts to promote anti-racism, address and prevent sexual harassment and assault on campus and the mandatory course on sexual misconduct.
Students from the Class of 2025 said the ceremony was welcoming and liberating.
Nia Davis, a freshman in Sargent College of Health Rehabilitation Sciences, said she felt that the in-person ceremony made her feel more connected with her fellow students.
“It’s also really refreshing to be around so many people after being online for so long,” Davis said.
Joshua Kim, CAS freshman, said he hopes to make a solid group of friends this school year.
“I totally thought [Jordan’s] speech was really motivating, especially as a freshman who doesn’t really know what they’re doing,” Kim said, “That was really inspirational and just helped me [realize], ‘Oh, I do have a place here.’”