Written by Clare Isabel Ee | Image by Ray Chua for Yale-NUS College
The Class of 2018 with their Rectors and Vice-Rectors (centre, first row)
It was a week of whirlwind activity for the new Class of 2018 at Yale-NUS College. Over 170 students from all over the world checked in at Residential College 4 (RC4) at the end of July, and settled into the enthusiastic and active life at Yale-NUS. With a team of spirited sophomores as their Orientation Group Leaders (OGLs), the Class of 2018 went on many interesting adventures across Singapore during the SingapOrientation week, which was designed to acquaint everyone with Singapore and one another.
SingapOrientation week came to a climax yesterday with the First Year Assembly 2014, which was held on 5 August 2014 at the University Cultural Centre (UCC). The lobby and stage of UCC were decorated with Yale-NUS banners, adding a touch of grand ceremony to the afternoon. The theme for the First Year Assembly was the Yale-NUS tree with 40 leaf-shaped flags – a visual representation of the diverse and international student body at the College.
Graced by close to 500 guests, the event was attended by the entire student body, faculty, staff, as well as founding benefactors, donors, industry partners, stakeholders, and family of the new class, some of whom flew in specially to witness the significant event.
The First Year Assembly kicked-off with a ceremonial procession, led by Mdm Kay Kuok, Chair of the Governing Board, and President Pericles Lewis, President of Yale-NUS College, which was followed by the senior leadership team and faculty, and the new class. The Class of 2018 was all smiles as their Vice-Rectors led them in.
Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, Kristin Greene, gave the welcome address to the new class, and spoke about her happiness at seeing the class gathered and ready to begin their College life.
“Out of 12,127 applications, you were selected not just because of your grades, or your extra-curricular activities, or your essays, although they were fabulous, but also because of your spirit, your passion, and your desire to make the most of the Yale-NUS experience,” she said to the new class in her address. “From here on, it is not what you have done in the past that matters, but rather what you will do during these four years that matters. You’ve run so hard to get where you are and now what you get is a blank slate to create who and what you want to be.”
President Lewis also took to the rostrum to welcome the new class, and touched on the liberal education and innovation that Yale-NUS students can look forward to over the four years ahead of them.
“The first time we make a possibility into a reality, it is an experiment. The second time we do so, it is tradition,” said President Lewis. “There are plenty of new experiments for all of us to undertake together this year, and even more traditions to shape, renew and transform. I invite all of you to help us to build this new, experimental world, and to decide which parts of it we should make enduring for future generations of Yale-NUS students.”
The Wallets, a sophomore a cappella singing group, put up a performance of three songs to welcome the new class – ‘Scarborough Fair’, followed by a folk song medley that featured both local and international songs, and a heartwarming rendition of ‘Home’, a song that was originally a National Day Song in Singapore.
The highlight of the ceremony was the Signing of the Record of Students which was officiated by Mdm Kuok and President Lewis. Ong Chee Yeow (Class of 2017) and Jamie Lynn Buitelaar (Class of 2018) signed the Record of Students – the former to close the Class of 2017’s first year, and the latter to begin it for the Class of 2018. And with that, the Class of 2018 was officially welcomed to Yale-NUS College.
(from left to right) President Lewis, Ong Chee Yeow, Jamie Lynn Buitelaar, and Mdm Kay Kuok onstage during the signing ceremony