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Convocation 2017: New Students Get a Warm Welcome, Great Advice, and a Quick Lesson in Hunter History

In Assembly Hall on September 6, Hunter’s incoming first-year and transfer students got an exciting look at their new school.

They heard first from President Jennifer J. Raab, who proudly observed that the members of Hunter’s Class of 2021 represent dozens of countries, speak 40 languages, and include about 150 Dreamers. President Raab further noted that the incoming class includes high school valedictorians and salutatorians, a prize-winning budding legal scholar and essayist, and talented film actors and classical dancers. The president also pointed out that alongside students straight out of high school are military veterans and other aspiring older undergrads. And like countless students throughout Hunter’s history, President Raab said, many starting this fall are the first in their families to attend college.

Members of the Class of 2021 were also assured that as they adopt Hunter’s motto, Mihi Cura Futuri (The Care of the Future is Mine), Hunter professors, advisors and administrators have their own words to live by: The Care of Your Future is Ours. Onstage were many of those who work tirelessly on the students’ behalf, and they rose individually to identify themselves and urge one and all to visit their offices and tap their expertise.

The speakers who elicited the most vocal, enthusiastic response were the recent Hunter grads and current student leaders who shared personal stories of overcoming challenges and getting the most out of the college experience.

“I failed the first test I took,” admitted Sarah Soo-Hoo ’16, as she recalled her unpromising introduction to college-level chemistry. But her chem professor reached out, urging her to take full advantage of faculty office hours, and as a result, she not only aced future tests but was soon conducting research in a Hunter lab. She’s now in medical school at Columbia University.

“I challenge you to take advantage of everything Hunter has to offer,” she said, and the speakers who followed all joined her in praising the pivotal support they’d received from devoted teachers and advisors, empathetic peers and well-connected alumni. The afternoon’s overriding recommendation was for students to be adventurous: Sign up for internships, semesters abroad, science professors’ lab teams, competitive sports teams, and intriguing courses in unfamiliar subjects.

“Learn how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable,” said Kristen Markoe ’14, DPT ’17, who, after earning her BA from Hunter’s Macaulay Honors College, immediately returned to earn her doctorate in physical therapy. Along the way, she broke scoring records in women’s basketball.

Following Markoe’s impressive account, President Raab placed such present-day achievements in historical perspective.

You are part of a long-important tradition, she told the Class of 2021, noting that their school is the only one in the world to have graduated two women recipients of the Nobel Prize in Medicine: Gertrude Elion ’37 and Rosalyn Yalow ’41. Taking an even longer view, President Raab said that the values of excellence instilled by this college date back to the 19th-century immigrant who came to New York and transformed urban higher education: the great Thomas Hunter.

View photos from Hunter's 2017 Convocation.

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