On Saturday, January 6th, more than 400 students were officially welcomed to the University of Florida at the Launch into IA convocation. The ceremony presented the first occasion for IA freshmen to celebrate their entry into UF and convene with the rest of their cohort. Students, along with family and friends, received an opportunity to hear from distinguished guests, including President Fuchs, Mr. Norm Dunkel, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, and from the Student Body President, Mr. Smith Myers. Their message to students was to take advantage of all the exceptional opportunities present at UF. President Fuchs additionally stressed the University cares deeply about fostering a strong connection with its student body, giving out his personal email and telling students not to hesitate to reach out to him.
Attendees had the exciting opportunity to also hear from Mr. John Spence, the keynote speaker recognized as one of the Top 100 Business Thought Leaders in America. Students and guests alike remarked they were particularly grateful for his address, one student commenting “having a modern day entrepreneur give us some helpful tips about what to expect was a great way to kick off the year.” Mr. Spence, in a humorous yet deeply relevant talk, recounted his own failures early on his college career and the lessons he collected from these experiences. Spence reminded students to strive continuously to “out-innovate” themselves and to seek meaningful environments that challenge them every day. Mr. Spence’s story also touched upon the significance of mentorship and how it considerably changed the course of his life. By the end of the speech, incoming freshmen said they felt inspired, finding Spence’s words “almost necessary to know to lead a successful college experience.” Dr. Citty, the founding director of the IA program, hopes students will hold onto the valuable advice highlighted by the speakers throughout the event. “There is so much potential with every student, and we believe, here at IA, we provide students with key skills and experiences that would allow them to truly flourish.”
Dr. Citty also expressed his gratitude for those that came together to advise and welcome the incoming IA class. “It’s one of my favorite events. We’re excited for what’s in store for our students.”
Tasnim Hussein, IA Operations Coordinator