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2016 Welcomed At Convocation

For The Heights

Published: Sunday, September 16, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01


Robyn Kim / Heights Staff

Boston College welcomed the Class of 2016 Thursday evening with the ninth annual First Year Academic Convocation.

The ceremony featured speaker Dan Barry, a columnist for The New York Times and author of Bottom of the 33rd: Hope, Redemption, and Baseball’s Longest Game. Rev. Joseph Marchese, S.J., director of the First Year Experience, and University President Rev. William P. Leahy, S.J. also addressed the newest members of the BC community.

As the Gasson bells rang at 6:15 p.m., the freshman class took its place along Linden Lane in order to accept the challenge being presented to them by faculty members and alumni. The challenge was to “learn to be attentive, reflective, and loving while at Boston College, and strive to become men and women who are wise, great-hearted, and ready to make a difference in the world. Go set the world aflame.” With these words, the Class of 2016 began its procession through campus to Conte Forum.

The ceremony began with the Liturgical Arts Group leading the hymn “All Are Welcome,” directly followed by Marchese’s welcoming address to the freshmen.

“What awaits you here is the possibility of growth, of new friendship, and enhanced capabilities in further advancements,” Marchese said. He went on to remind the students that their time here at BC should be used to contemplate the individual that each is, as well as the individual that they hope to become. He then opened the floor to Leahy, who impressed upon the Class of 2016 the importance of giving of oneself to others as well as being open to accepting that which others have to offer.

“It is important that you wonder, that you listen to yourself, and also that you act, that you strive to help make Boston College better and better,” Leahy said. He welcomed the freshman class to BC and offered the podium to the convocation’s keynote speaker, Barry.

Barry has been a journalist for over 30 years, and his book, Bottom of the 33rd, chronicles the longest game in baseball history, a minor league game played in Pawtucket, R.I. on Holy Saturday and into Easter Sunday—however, the book is about more than just baseball.

“It’s about baseball, but it’s also about life,” Barry said. He went on to state that it is about the struggle that all humans must face. He quoted Mother Theresa, saying, “God doesn’t require that we succeed, he only requires that we try.” This was Barry’s challenge to the Class of 2016. “What matters now is now. You worked hard to get to Boston College … the last stop between life on your own … this is yours now, make the most of it, try.”

The novel’s primary focus, in the wake of the longest game, is a player who failed to make the Major Leagues, had been through a divorce, and was struggling with alcoholism. This man ultimately decided that his life could be something better, started going to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, and tried to turn his life into something better. Barry’s message to the Class of 2016 was that failure will always come—the true measure of a person’s success is how he reacts to this failure, if he can rise above. The true measure of a person’s success is the extent to which he tries.

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