Rollins Welcomes the Class of 2016

August 20, 2012

The Fox at convocation
Students in the Class of 2016 march past the fox statue on their way into the Alfond Sports Center. (Photo by Judy Watson Tracy)

On Friday, August 17, Rollins’ iconic fox statue made a rare appearance during the convocation ceremony welcoming the Class of 2016. Historically, the statue only comes out one day in the spring to signal Fox Day, a beloved Rollins holiday when classes are cancelled for the day. This year, however, the fox infused the pomp and circumstance of convocation with a stronger sense of Rollins tradition.

The convocation procession
Kenneth Curry Professor of Literature Maurice O'Sullivan leads the Class of 2016 in the convocation procession. (Photo by Judy Watson Tracy)

“The fox came out for only a moment and was gone before the students marched out of the Alfond Sports Center,” said Interim Vice President for Student Affairs Steve Neilson. “The plan is to have the fox present at convocation, during the annual Fox Day, and again at commencement, to mark students’ full academic journey at Rollins from beginning to end.”

According to Neilson, the fox’s appearance ties in with a tradition that dates back long before the first Fox Day in 1956. The bell that rang marking the beginning of convocation is the same bell that rang 127 years ago on April 17, 1885, announcing that Winter Park had been selected as the site for Florida’s first college. In 1950, this Founder’s Bell was presented to the College and was installed in the Knowles Memorial Chapel in 1956, where it has since chimed during convocation, commencement, and, even more recently, Fox Day.

“The chiming of the Founder’s Bell is a reminder of the tradition you join and the link between the thousands of scholars, actors, athletes, student leaders, and successful alumni of the past,” Neilson said to the 521 first-year and 68 transfer students who had gathered.

With their matriculation, the Class of 2016 is adding to Rollins’ legacy by being part of the largest full-time undergraduate enrollment in the College’s history. According to Dean of Admission David Erdmann, their best-test average is seven points higher than last year and is the second highest of any entering Rollins class.

“Although you are new to Rollins, collectively you are similar in diversity, academic ability, and athletic and artistic talents to the Rollins students who have preceded you,” Erdmann said. “Students who have earned more than 40 prestigious Fulbright scholarships, who earned the College the President’s Award for Outstanding Community Engagement, who starred on Broadway and in movies, and who have won Emmy awards, 22 national athletic championships, and 65 Sunshine State championships.”

The College is both honored and privileged to welcome the Class of 2016 into the Rollins family.

View more photos from convocation.

By Laura J. Cole

Office of Marketing & Communications
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