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New chancellor to welcome students at convocation

August 26, 2008 By John Lucas

Incoming Chancellor Biddy Martin will address the University of Wisconsin–Madison community for the first time at the Chancellor’s Convocation for New Students.

The event will be held at noon on Friday, Aug. 29, at the Kohl Center. As a bookend to commencement, the convocation inaugurates students into the campus community as they begin their studies.

Traditionally, 4,000-5,000 new students attend the event as part of their Wisconsin Welcome orientation coordinated by the Center for the First-Year Experience.

Martin says she is looking forward to the chance to introduce herself to incoming students.

“I spent some of the most intellectually stimulating and pleasurable years of my life in Madison,” she says. “I received an excellent education and made lifelong friends. I love the lakes, the Arboretum and the advantages of a lively and livable mid-sized city. My time as a student at UW–Madison weighed heavily in my decision to return.”

As is tradition, a UW–Madison student serves as keynote speaker at the event.

Junior Kim Roberts was selected by Martin from a strong group of applicants who wrote essays answering the question “What would you tell a new student about life at the University of Wisconsin–Madison?”

Roberts, of Wrexham, Wales, is both the first international student and the first student-athlete to serve as keynote speaker. She is a member of the UW–Madison women’s tennis team and is double majoring in political science and women’s studies.

“A new life (at UW–Madison) is hard,” she writes. “Strange, scary and so unexpected. Second-guessing yourself is second nature, and it’s hard to break out of that box you’re so comfortable in. If you don’t let Madison into your heart, if you don’t let UW pump through your veins, then you may just miss out on one of the best experiences you will ever have.”

Madison alder and UW–Madison student Eli Judge will speak and encourage students to become participants in civic life.

As part of the event, the Center for the First-Year Experience has a Web site that includes the text of Roberts’ speech, other speech contest finalists and the best advice of faculty and staff about making the most out of the first year at UW–Madison. Other convocation speaker finalists included UW–Madison students Richard Duffy and Emily Piehl.