Daemen welcomed students and their families back to campus for the start of the 2021-22 academic year at the college’s annual Convocation ceremony on Saturday.
The event served as a formal greeting for the nearly 720 new students—undergraduate, graduate and transfer—who have enrolled at the college this fall, which represents a 12.3 percent increase from last year.
What’s more, the Class of 2025 is one of the most-academically accomplished in the college’s recent history.
“Through convocation, we do something deeply important: We affirm our commitment to academic excellence and celebrate our common purpose to provide a first-rate education no matter what,” said Gary Olson, president of the college.
“At Daemen, not even a global pandemic can stand in the way,” he said.
Convocation returned to campus after a hiatus in 2020, due to the pandemic-related restrictions. With attendees masked Saturday, the event marked a step closer to normalcy.
Entering the fall semester the college boasts vaccination rates much higher than the national average: more than 83 percent of registered students, more than 90 percent of residential students, and more than 89 percent of faculty and staff are fully vaccinated.
A campus tradition, convocation serves as a formal introduction—and induction—into the Daemen campus community.
Sue Falsone ’96, an internationally-known athletic trainer, offered advice to new students, stemming from her experiences earning her bachelor’s degree in physical therapy at Daemen.
“Be present and enjoy the time you have here. It will be short in the grand scheme of your life,” said Falsone, “but it will shape you for a lifetime in so many ways.”
Falsone spoke about her distinguished career, during which she’s earned the distinction as the first female head athletic trainer in any of the four major sports in the U.S. She worked with the Los Angeles Dodgers for six years, last serving as head athletic trainer and physical therapist.
Additionally, she served as head of athletic training and sport performance with U.S. Soccer’s Men’s National Team.
Before recessing to the sounds of a live bagpipe and drum quartet, those gathered heard from Saferino Dour, president of the Student Government Association.
“We are part of a community that wants to see you succeed against all odds,” said Dour.
“Daemen is a place where you have the opportunity to be yourself in the best way you can be,” he added. “Your unique individuality strengthens our community as a whole. … You belong here.”