Photos by Jean Lachat and Joel Wintermantle

Revisit this space as O-Week unfolds for photos and stories about this year's incoming undergraduate and graduate students.

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(Photo by Ben Chandler)

Orientation Week highlights

The Class of 2021 kicked off O-Week with a busy Saturday of moving into their new rooms, saying hi to new roommates, and spending time with members of their residence halls.

On Sunday, first-year students gathered at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel for Opening Convocation. This College tradition included an address from Dean of the College John W. Boyer and the presentation of incoming students by Vice President for Enrollment and Student Advancement Jim Nondorf to President Robert J. Zimmer.

A procession accompanied by bagpipes led everyone to Hull Gate, where the UChicago community welcomed first-year students before they took the Class of 2021 photo.

On Tuesday, graduate students hadtheir own Convocation and procession from Rockefeller Chapel. The event kicked off a day full of grad-specific activities, including lunch on the Midway Plaisance, an information fair in Ida Noyes Hall, and graduate student social events. 

First-year students process from Rockefeller Memorial Chapel through Hull Gate. Video Link: (Video by UChicago Creative)

Aims of Education address

During his Aims of Education address, Prof. Robert Rosner discussed how the first nuclear chain reaction, which happened at the University of Chicago 75 years ago, provides valuable lessons for students entering the University today.

He told first-years gathered Sept. 19 at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel about the history of the “momentous scientific achievement,” which the University is commemorating this fall. But he also talked about the complex legacy of the experiment on Dec. 2, 1942, and the tough questions scientists faced following the project.

“Perhaps the most important lesson is that at this university, we strive to—and do—speak truth to power: We speak up when we believe it is important to do so; we vigorously defend our views, even if, in fact, especially if, they are unpopular or politically inconvenient,” said Rosner, the William E. Wrather Distinguished Service Professor in Astronomy and Astrophysics and Physics.

Prof. Robert Rosner discusses the legacy of the first nuclear reaction during his Aims of Education address. (Photo by Jean Lachat)

His advice to students echoed the actions of the UChicago scientists during and after World War II: Think deeply about what you are doing. Be active, not passive. Consider the consequences of your work, Rosner said.

“What you’ll soon discover, if you have not already, is that arguing is the staff of life at this university, and that nothing is sacrosanct,” he said.

Originally published on September 16, 2017.