The class of 2015 has already been accepted and enrolled in classes at Tennessee Tech University, but its members will not be official TTU students until convocation.
In a matter of days, the incoming class will don their purple T-shirts and watch as their professors march in to music played by the Brass Arts Quartet with all the pomp and circumstance of their commencement ceremony four years from now.
“It creates an atmosphere where our students could participate in something that signifies the moment they became a Tech student,” said Dustin Rawls, director of orientation and student success. “This is when they became part of us, they became part of the Tech family.”
This will be the third year TTU has held a convocation ceremony, but the first time many of the freshmen class will have seen what a formal academic ritual is really like.
“Our students are coming from all over, but the majority of them are coming from rural public high schools that probably didn’t have this level of pomp and circumstance,” Rawls said. “They don’t know about the regalia or the mace or any of it. We wanted to give them a sense of what an awesome ritual this is.”
For the first time, a fellow student will address the incoming class. Senior agriculture major Chelsea Rose was the first TTU student, and the first woman from Tennessee, to be elected to vice president of the national FFA. While she held the post, the Murfreesboro native took a year off from school to travel around the country and globe, talking to other students about agriculture and agribusiness.
“We wanted to choose an ideal TTU student, someone that all of our students could be if they put forth the effort,” Rawls said. “Hopefully, they can look at Chelsea and see themselves in her shoes because she had just started the road they are on four years ago.”