Convocation welcomes first-years to Guilford


Fernando Jimenez

Left to right Edward C. Winslow III and President Jane K. Fernandes blow out candles in celebration of Guilford College’s 180th birthday. // Photo by Fernando Jimenez/The Guilfordian

In 1837, New Garden Boarding School first opened its doors with a total of 50 students and four teachers. Now known as Guilford College, the College is celebrating its 180th anniversary with approximately 2,000 students and over 100 faculty members.

More than 350 first-year students attended the Opening Academic Convocation, a ceremonial assembly of the members of the Guilford community, on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017 in Dana Auditorium. Members of the community were welcomed by C. Wess Daniels, the William R. Rogers Director of Friends Center and Quaker Studies. After a moment of silence, Frank A. Boyd, the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty, addressed the student community.

“This convocation marks the ceremonial beginning of the academic year” said Boyd. “Some of the most profound learning you are going to do over the next four years will be from each other.”

The event consisted of musical selections by Troy Taylor ’19 and Brandon Walker ’21, who performed “Bate-Coxa” by Marco Pereira, an instrumental on guitar. Alumna Yazmin Garcia Rico ’11 shared her experience as a Guilford graduate with the incoming class.

“When I say that Guilford transformed me, I mean that I went from being a dreamer to a doer.” said Garcia Rico. “When I started at Guilford College, I began as a dreamer. One of the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in this country.”

“Guilford gave me the tools and opportunities to become a doer and work on the issues that I am passionate about, such as access to higher education for Latinx and immigrant students.”

During her time as a student, Garcia Rico served as a Bonner Scholar to focus on seeking service learning opportunities within the community.

“Guilford College has so much to offer to every single student that sets foot on this campus. And you. You have so much to offer to this community.”

Service learning is a way to foster personal development, create memorable experiences and have an impact both on campus and the city of Greensboro. Departments such as the Bonner Center for Community Learning, Center for Principled Problem Solving and the Multicultural Education Department provide students with these opportunities.

Jane Fernandes, President of Guilford College, provided closing remarks before blowing out the candles to the celebratory cake.

“I trust that together you will experience great moments as you share the light that each of you brings to this wonderful community,” said Fernandes.

This enthusiasm for helping students is also reflected by Guilford’s incoming class of first-years.

“My plan is to be involved in the community and take advantage of what Greensboro has to offer,” said Ree Ree Wei ’21.I want to become an immigration lawyer, but there are so many other things I want to explore, and I do not want to limit myself.”

For many students, the different classes and extracurricular activities that the College has to offer will help shape their path beyond college.

“Academically, I want to be able to get the foundation for the next three years,” said Exel Estrada ’21. “In terms, not only of finding my major, but I want to get a foundation for the future.”

Fernandes is confident that first-year students will be able to find their vocation.

“When you leave here in four years, you’ll be able to turn around and show the world what you came here for,” said Fernandes. “You will know your purpose. You will know your passion. You will know your path.”