As the marching band’s upbeat music reverberated throughout UD Arena at Saturday’s new student orientation, cheerleaders led the largest first-year class in school history through the cheer they’ll chant the next four years — and beyond.
“Go, Dayton Flyers. D…A…Y…T…OOO…N! Dayton Flyers. Go UD!”
Changing tempo, the band performed the UD anthem, the words rolling slowly across big screens.
The four-day orientation is as much about tradition and pageantry as it is about new beginnings. It culminated today with students reciting the academic honor code and participating in a pinning ceremony at a formal convocation presided over by faculty donned in caps and gowns.
At Saturday’s kick-off welcome event for students and their families, Father Jim Fitz, S.M., talked about UD’s oldest tradition — the Marianist philosophy of education that found its roots in the French Revolution.
“Blessed William Joseph Chaminade (founder of the religious order that sponsors UD) lived in a time like ours of transition and turmoil,” said Fitz, vice president for mission and rector. “It would not be hard for me to prove that we still live a world much like that of Blessed Chaminade — Gaza, Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, South Sudan, Ferguson, Missouri.”
Fitz encouraged students, in the Marianist tradition, to search for truth, think critically and imaginatively, and work for the common good.
“We believe in building community across diversity. In a world that experiences violence and hatred, we need people who can build community and bridge differences,” he said.
“If we are at our best, you will learn to be a community builder and you will be stretched to identify and use gifts you never knew you had.”