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Caldwell, N.J., Aug. 30, 2021—Caldwell University welcomed incoming students at its 2021 New Student Convocation Ceremony in the Newman Center gym. 

Caldwell celebrated the class of 2025, as well as the Class of 2024, since they did not have their in-person celebration last year.   

Vice President for Academic Affairs Peter Ubertaccio, Ph.D. said the event was “our collective opportunity to look toward our future” while also recalling the university’s history. “That history of faith and reason, service and scholarship dates back through the founding of Caldwell University in 1939, the life of St. Catherine of Siena, and back further to the birth of St. Dominic in 1170.” 

In welcoming the students, President Matthew Whelan, Ed.D. quoted from musician Louis Armstrong’s song “What a Wonderful World.”  

“It is a song of promise of how the world is indeed a wonderful place and we at Caldwell are just one part of that wonderful place.”  He encouraged the students to spend time learning and to take the time to look around. “If the last year and a half has taught us anything, it’s that the simple things are what sustain us.”  

“Take time to learn about our traditions and mission. I want you to learn about some very special women, the Sisters of St. Dominic who built this place into the university it is today, with much of that building taking place at a time when women weren’t valued as equal members of our society.”  The Sisters kept moving forward, focusing on their destination no matter the roadblocks, said Dr. Whelan. He urged the new students to do the same in their lives.  “I want you to engage in learning so your journey’s end can help lead us to a better destination, a better future, one filled with better outcomes for you, for your family, and for more equality for everyone.” 

Sister Kathleen Tuite, O.P., vice president for academic affairs, described the University seal which is on the pendant that all the students received. 

She explained that the red symbolizes the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the gold His kingship.  Inscribed in the seal is the University’s motto, “Sapientia et Scientia,” which means wisdom and knowledge and is derived from the Litany of the Sacred Heart. The golden sun represents St. Thomas Aquinas, the patron saint of Catholic Schools. 

Ubertaccio also recognized the students who had made the dean’s list for the past two consecutive semesters. 

Samantha Guerra ‘22, president of the Student Government Association, led the students in the affirmation of the University’s mission statement.  “At Caldwell we have the opportunity to refine ourselves, to become leaders; leaders that will serve our community as professors, lawyers, nurses , and business men and women.”  She encouraged the students to take in all they can from CU’s “brilliant faculty—observe and absorb all the knowledge they offer.” 

Colleen O’Brien, director of campus ministry, gave the invocation.  Alexa Peto, a freshman, led the students in a closing prayer. 

The CU Drumline, directed by Professor Rebecca Vega and percussion instructor Joe Bergen along with drum captain Sonia Casiano provided the music.  

On Friday Aug. 27, many of the incoming students moved into the residence halls.  It was “all hands on deck” with everyone from President Whelan and his wife Kathy to student-athletes and club members, orientation leaders, staff and faculty helping the students move into their rooms. 

Cian Richardson, an orientation leader, said it was very nice to see “people helping people” and to meet the freshmen. Senior Prasanni Shrestha, a resident  assistant, said it reminded her of her freshman year when she was moving in.  “I’ve met some of the residents in my hall and they are excited. It makes me hopeful for the coming semester.”