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Freshman Convocation, the formal introduction to Old Dominion for new students, will be held at 6 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 27, on Kaufman Mall.

For the second year in a row, Marlon Smith, founder and president of the educational consulting firm Success by Choice, will be the featured speaker. Smith was retained again because the response to his talk last year from students, faculty and administrators was so positive, according to Julie Groesser-Grillo, student services marketing coordinator.

"Marlon speaks from an experience many students find themselves in: surmounting the challenges of college life. He represents victory over struggle and encourages students not to be afraid, to seek help and to help one another," said Maggi Curry-Williams, associate dean of students.

At the convocation, students will march in together as a class and will be given buttons reading, "Pride of 2000." New at this year's ceremony will be the Freshman Register, a bound leather book that all new students will be invited sign. "The register is a way of making a commitment to the university by putting your name on paper," explained Groesser-Grillo.

In addition to the formal convocation, activities for new students will be held tonight (Friday), Saturday and throughout the first few weeks of classes.

Playfair, an interactive event for new students to meet other new students, will take place from 7-10 p.m. Friday, Aug. 25, at the Powhatan softball fields. Up to 800 students, mostly freshmen living in the residence halls, are expected to attend.

From 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 26, Debut, the second half of Preview, will be held in Webb Center. Students will hear talks on a variety of subjects, from how to get involved in student life to what will be expected of them by faculty.

During the second half of Debut, students will go to their individual colleges, if they have chosen a major, and hear their dean or associate dean speak. Afterward, they will have the opportunity to meet faculty members in their field of study.

Debut will conclude with a picnic at Webb where faculty members will serve food to the new students.

Mainstreet, an annual event that gives students an opportunity to learn about the many organizations at the university, is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 7, on Kaufman Mall.

"The first eight weeks are really critical in retention. If we can get them (the new students) involved, they're more likely to stay. Our goal is to find them a link," said Groesser-Grillo.

This article was posted on: August 23, 2000

Old Dominion University
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Room 100 Koch Hall Norfolk, Virginia 23529-0018
Telephone: 757-683-3114

Old Dominion University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution.