The 1,300 or so members of the class of 2013 are arriving at Yale today, but thanks to a space crunch in Woolsey Hall, it will be nearly four more years before they actually gather altogether in one place.
That will happen on Old Campus for Commencement in 2013. Previously, students in each class gathered together twice: once for the Freshmen Assembly before the start of freshman year, and again at Commencement.
This year, in a break from tradition, there will not be one Freshman Assembly, but two. At 9 a.m. Saturday, freshmen in Berkeley, Morse, Davenport, Silliman, Timothy Dwight and Pierson colleges will gather in Woolsey Hall. At 10:30 a.m., the event will be repeated for freshman in Calhoun, Branford, Saybrook, Ezra Stiles, Trumbull and Jonathan Edwards colleges.
University Vice President and Secretary Linda Lorimer, whose office organizes the Freshman Assembly, said the change was made to allow more relatives to see the assembly in person.
“Obviously there are some families, because they’re in Indonesia or Mississippi or wherever, who can’t come. But for those families who schlep all the way here in the glaring heat of New Haven August to watch their children on a video monitor is a very different experience than being in the hall with them,” she said. (Previously, some guests were forced to watch the assembly in an overflow seating area at the Law School.)
Lorimer said the University considered giving each student a set of tickets to the event but did not want to force freshmen “to make a choice of who among your family gets the opportunity to be there.”
“We think that family matters,” she said. “Shouldn’t [families] have a chance to actually be in the hall and actually see you there and look for you and have you wave at them?”
Commencement weekend’s Baccalaureate ceremony — also held in Woolsey Hall — was originally also held only once but is now repeated three times, also to allow for more relatives to see the ceremony.
Paul Needham contributed reporting. Photo: Office of Public Affairs.