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Fall Convocation Sept. 24: ‘Celebrating the Arts!’

By Dave Jones on September 14, 2012 in University News


The convocation has company now as a fall tradition at UC Davis.

The New Student Celebration returns Tuesday, Sept. 25, for its second year. This celebration is invitation only, for incoming freshmen, transfer students and international students. Most are likely to have their cell phones with them — which is a good thing, so the students can participate in text-message polling during the celebration.

Last year’s inaugural event drew some 4,000 students to The Pavilion at the ARC, and up to 5,500 are expected this year in the same venue.

They will experience some of the best of UC Davis sights and sounds, all in about an hour: the Cal Aggie Marching Band-uh! and Bakuhatsu Taiko Dan, the Liquid Hotplates a cappella group, and the Golden Turtle Lion Dance Association and Lashkara (Hindi film dance team); plus videos and a few surprises.

They’ll hear from our 2012 Olympians and the new director of athletics, Terry Tumey; the ASUCD vice president and the membership director of the Student Alumni Association; and Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi.

And from two space explorers: alumnus Steve Robinson, a former astronaut who is new to the engineering faculty this year; and alumnus Adam Steltzner, an engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The Band-uh! will start playing at 3:30 p.m., while students are arriving, and will close out the program at about 5:20, leading the students to dinner on the Hutchison Intramural Field.

A Student Resource Fair will accompany the barbecue. Also, each student will receive a commemorative T-shirt.

The Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts has played host to the university’s Fall Convocation every year since the center’s opening in 2002. And this year the center will have a much bigger role — as one of the stars of the show.

“Celebrating the Arts!" will focus on the Mondavi Center as it begins its 10th anniversary season, and the division of Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies, which is readying for a grand new addition: the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art, to be built across the street from the Mondavi Center.

Speakers will include Margrit Mondavi, a major benefactor, with her late husband, Robert, to the center and the Robert Mondavi Institute of Wine and Food Science; Rachel Teagle, newly hired as the first director of the museum; and Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi.

The Mondavi Center held its gala grand opening Oct. 3, 2002, with a concert by the San Francisco Symphony. But the first public event, Fall Convocation, the traditional start of the academic year, took place the day before — cementing the center’s all-important role in UC Davis’ academic mission.

This year’s convocation will celebrate that relationship in video and music, interspersed with such traditional elements as the chancellor's remarks and the alma mater (by a surprise guest performer).

Everyone in the campus community is invited: students, staff and faculty.

Pay special attention to this year’s date: Monday, Sept. 24, three days before the start of instruction in the fall term. Normally, the convocation would be held the day before the start of instruction — but that is not possible this year because of the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur (sunset Sept. 25 to sunset Sept. 26).

The convocation runs from 10 to 11 a.m. in Jackson Hall, and a reception follows until noon on Vanderhoef Quad across the street from the Mondavi Center. The student drumming group Bakuhatsu Taiko Dan will perform during the reception.

The convocation program will start with the national anthem, sung by Anush Avetisyan, winner of the Founders Prize in the Mondavi Center’s 2012 Young Artists Competition. Next, Grace Zhou, a junior winner in the 2011 competition, will perform a piano solo.

Besides Margrit Mondavi and Katehi, other speakers include Don Roth, executive director of the Mondavi Center; and Jessie Ann Owens, dean of the Division of Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies.

Peter Lichtenfels, professor and former chair, Department of Theatre and Dance, will pay tribute to the late dance professor, Della Davidson.

The Gamelan Ensemble will represent the Department of Music. The ensemble’s director, Henry Spiller, associate professor and department chair, will deliver remarks about the Indonesian tradition of gamelan.

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Media contact(s)

Dave Jones, Dateline, 530-752-6556,