Remarks to the Class of 2023 at the First-Year Induction Ceremony

Transylvania University First-Year Induction Ceremony

On Saturday, Aug. 23, the interim President John Williams spoke to the Class of 2023 at the First-Year Induction Ceremony. The following are his remarks, as prepared for delivery.

Good morning and welcome Class of 2023 to the first day of the rest of your life — beginning right here at Transylvania University. Today’s Induction Ceremony marks a new school year by honoring you, the Class of 2023, and your family and friends who have joined us today.  All of us at Transylvania are honored that you have chosen to spend four significant years on our campus, and we take our commitment to you and to your successful education very seriously.

I am honored to serve as interim university president and a proud alumnus of this great university.  This is a fabulous day for you and your family and friends in attendance. We are here to formally induct you into the Transylvania family of over 15,000 living alumni and continue a great higher education tradition which began almost 240 years ago in 1780.

First, to the parents:  I know how exciting, yet how challenging, it can be to leave your loved one in an unfamiliar place in the care of unfamiliar people. Given today’s technology, however, of multiple mobile devices, text messaging and Instagram, it is not as difficult as it once was. So in addition to the high tech of today, we employ high involvement as faculty and administrators. We understand the importance of the role we play in your child’s welfare and ultimately their success. We are here to support your students in a multitude of ways so they might learn and grow as young adults.

Second, to the students: I imagine your first day on campus was a busy one, but I hope your experience so far has confirmed that Transy is the place to be. Many of you may already have a clear idea of your career path. Others may not be sure. In my case, I started my career path in political science shifted to psychology and graduated with a biology major–while enjoying German, English comp, calculus, philosophy, and many other subjects along the way.  Regardless of major vs no-idea, college is a time to explore, discover new interests, study topics that excite you, and take courses that are intriguing. Through courses of study, our faculty will challenge you to be your best self as a student and as a person. Transy students develop the skills, confidence, and composure that lead to success regardless of what career path they choose. 

Our mission is to help guide you through study and reflection toward a successful meaningful life. You won’t travel alone as you are surrounded by a supportive Transy community of fellow travelers-students, faculty and staff.  Collectively, we will explore the teachings and wisdom of the world to see new possibilities. 

President John Williams

In order to enhance your induction experience, deepen your understanding of our Transylvania culture and thus your college career , there are three fundamentals to know about Transy:

Our institutional mission and values state:

Through an engagement with the liberal arts, Transylvania University prepares its students for a humane and fulfilling personal and public life by cultivating independent thinking, open-mindedness, creative expression and commitment to lifelong learning and social responsibility in a diverse world.

What the name Transylvania means:

The name Transylvania comes from Latin and means “across the woods”—a good description of the vast, heavily forested area between the Ohio and Cumberland rivers first settled by American colonists in the 1770s. A group of pioneers (whose chief scout was Daniel Boone) chose the name Transylvania Colony when they established a settlement near modern-day Lexington.

The University Seal and Motto:

The university seal was created in 1909. Inscribed on it is the university’s motto, In Lumine illo Tradimus Lumen, or “In That Light, We Pass On the Light.” The seal bears the heraldic symbols of a torch, hand, book and globe, which represent truth, faithfulness, learning and service to the world.

The Transylvania alma mater which we will sing at the conclusion of today’s ceremony will capture some of these elements in the lyrics so listen and read carefully.

So, in short, our mission is to help guide you through study and reflection toward a successful meaningful life. You won’t travel alone as you are surrounded by a supportive Transy community of fellow travelers-students, faculty and staff.  Collectively, we will explore the teachings and wisdom of the world to see new possibilities. 

Congratulations, Class of 2023!  I warmly welcome you to your new “home” for awhile — Transylvania University.  In just a few moments, we will induct you as new Pioneers of the Transylvania family.  We are delighted you are here.

Transylvania University Induction Ceremony