September 4, 2020

Virtual Format, High Turnout Mark This Year’s New Student Orientation

WELCOME TO CGU: This year's New Student Orientation program also featured school-specific zoom sessions, like this one for the Drucker School, so that students could meet faculty and classmates.

The CGU community welcomed some 400 new students during a series of virtual events for this season’s New Student Orientation (NSO) program.

Held in late August and spread out over several days, this year’s NSO featured a main university virtual event, live streams and prerecorded speakers, and individual zoom sessions for students with their schools and programs (such as the virtual meeting held by Interim Drucker School Dean Katharina Pick, pictured above).

President Len Jessup thanked this year’s entering students for choosing CGU for their graduate journeys and for persevering in their pursuit of knowledge despite considerable challenges as a result of quarantine and COVID-19.

This season’s crop of new students enrolled in master’s and doctoral programs during the summer and fall.

Jessup appealed to them to find the silver lining during this difficult year.

Though many say 2020 will go down in the history books as “the year of the coronavirus” or the year of social protests and a contentious presidential election, Jessup offered an alternative definition.

“For me, 2020 is the year when we learned about the importance of adaptation, of the necessity of learning to pivot,” he said. “This is something that all of you understand or you wouldn’t be here today.”

Pivoting for the fall

The same can be said of CGU, which experienced a significant pivot in its operations this fall, too.

In response to the restrictions on in-person instruction, the university devised an “online flex” program that offers online instruction for a majority of classes with some allowances made for classes that require in-person instruction. Student and faculty response to the strategy has been positive.

According to the registrar’s office, the university’s overall enrollment this fall is solid with only a low single-digit percentage decline as compared with plunges between 10 and 15% experienced by many other schools across the nation.

During his NSO remarks, Jessup encouraged new students to work hard for a very clear reason: The world needs them.

“It’s clear from what’s happening today that the world needs help,” he said. “The world needs problem-solvers like you.”

Jessup’s sentiments were also shared by Provost Patricia Easton, who led a virtual pinning ceremony (featuring a lapel pin with CGU’s flame logo). Some of the newly-pinned students celebrate their membership in the CGU community in the following video:



The NSO program also featured SES alumnus Daniel Solórzano, who encouraged the students to make a difference in people’s lives in his keynote remarks; Ariel Carpenter, who is director of student life and international services; and Graduate Student Council President Fred Johnson, who emceed the event.

In addition to his NSO remarks, Jessup also recorded a welcome message to the entire CGU community that thanks everyone for their perseverance in these unprecedented times. Watch Jessup’s welcome message here.