ALLIANCE, Ohio – The University of Mount Union officially welcomed its newest class of students during the annual Matriculation Convocation ceremony held Friday afternoon.
The Class of 2025 began the academic year with a ceremony held in the Timken Gymnasium of the McPherson Academic and Athletic Complex, located down the hall from the Peterson Field House where those same students will receive their degrees four years from now.
Dr. Jeffrey Breese, provost of the University, welcomed the new students – more than 550 in total. Breese reminded students that this year will begin a journey that may be challenging at times but rewarding in the end.
“This year will be filled with all things new,” Breese said. “Some will be challenging and at times it may seem overwhelming, but I assure you, it is nothing you can’t handle. So, be kind to yourself as you begin to find your way. And be patient with yourself and your new roommates, classmates, and teammates.”
Entering his second academic year as University President and his first celebrating the Matriculation Convocation on campus, Dr. Tom Botzman stated that Mount Union is proud of the opportunities it has continued to offer its campus population for the past 175 years.
“You have been chosen to study with remarkable scholars in the faculty who are dedicated to helping you learn, to challenging and supporting you,” Botzman said. “The faculty will challenge you to spend your time here exploring, discovering, and developing your talents and abilities. When the time arrives for your graduation, you will be ready to ‘go away’ to do great things, knowing fully that you are always welcome to return to your alma mater.”
He also spoke about the varied backgrounds of the Mount Union community and how that benefits the student experience.
Following Botzman was Rachel Cummings, a 2009 alumna of Mount Union who is also an athletic trainer and was named the institution’s 2021 Great Teacher. She spoke about her own Mount Union experiences and advice for students to get the most out of their undergraduate careers.
“Before you know it, you will be walking across that stage and receiving your diplomas and will be alumni of the University of Mount Union too,” Cummings said. “Take time to enjoy the little things. Take a break from studying. Go to that sporting event, play, band concert, fraternity or sorority event, extracurricular event, or just enjoy the beauty of this campus. Those are the moments that you will remember forever.”
Mount Union Student Senate President and computer engineering major Gabriella Cataloni ’22, of Hermitage, Pennsylvania was one of the student representatives and offered some guidance to the new students.
“Get to know the professors, faculty, and staff on campus,” Cataloni said. “Everyone here truly cares about your success, and they want to get to know you! Making personal connections will make you feel at home.”
Santino Diaz-Palma ’22, a biochemistry and Spanish double major of Youngstown, Ohio, followed Cataloni and discussed some of the unique opportunities afforded to Mount Union students.
“If you see an opportunity, grab it!” He said. “One of my biggest revelations during my first year was finding out I could study abroad. Studying abroad, though very beneficial for language learning, is about giving you another perspective of the world. It’s about seeing the world through another set of eyes.”
Rounding out the student speakers for the afternoon was Billy Parry ’23, a finance and management double major of Sugar Land, Texas. Parry, a transfer student involved in several extracurricular opportunities, discussed balancing campus life to the incoming class.
“I’m involved in quite a bit now, and something that comes with heavy campus involvement is time management,” Parry said. “Go out there and get involved, enhance your college experience. While doing that make sure there’s balance and don’t overwhelm yourself.”
At the conclusion of Parry’s comments, the students and faculty recited their respective Matriculation pledges. Breese then took the stage to discuss the importance of the Matriculation Convocation. After learning about the significance of the ceremony, students had an opportunity to sign the Matriculation Book.
Signing the book is a pledge that students will dedicate their efforts and talents to excellence in liberal learning and career preparation. The book, which remains in the care of the Office of the President until graduation, will be on display in the University Store during graduation week in 2025 for students to see.