Narrowly escaping the rain, The University of Delaware Green on Tuesday night lit up with candles for the first twilight induction ceremony since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
The traditional ceremony was planned for Monday night, but moved because of rain.
Normally held to welcome freshmen to campus, the event was expanded this year with sophomores who didn’t get to have their own welcome last year as UD limited the number of people on campus.
Thousands were on hand to hear encouraging words from President Dennis Assanis, Provost Robin Morgan and members of the student government welcoming them to the start of their college careers.
With nearly 4,000 students in the 2025 class, just as many in the 2024, the Green was more than halfway filled with what seemed to be a large cross section of students from many classes. Many spilled onto the sidewalks. Big screens showed the faces of the speakers for those not close enough to the stage to see them well.
Most students sat with candles in their hands while Assanis welcomed freshmen, sophomores and transfer students to the campus.
“Honestly, I didn’t expect this big of a crowd,” said Kaitlyn Evans, who is a junior but spending her first year at the campus. “I thought it would be a good chance for my dog to socialize, but I
didn’t know it would be this big.”
Evans’ dog Bella did not seem to mind the crowd at all.
After praising UD’s alumni, including three who signed the constitution, President and Dr. Biden and Joe Flacco, Assanis thanked the students for choosing UD and choosing to be on campus.
“Thanks for doing whatever it takes,” Assanis said, “to keep yourselves and others safe so we call all enjoy this beautiful campus.”
The crowd seemed lively and happy to be there, but many expressed amazement at the size and friendliness of the turnout.
“So far it’s been really good,” Gianna Andrade, a freshman said. “Everyone is really welcoming and friendly.”
The only complaint Andrade had was she couldn’t hear the speakers well.
Giselle Ruiz, a freshman accompanying Andrade, agreed, but had similar praises for the community around her.
“I expected around this many people. That’s the community,” Ruiz said. “But so far it’s been really inspiring, really motivating.”
As the final speaker left the podium, students were instructed to light their candles while music played. Then freshman, sophomores and anyone else new to the campus
raised their candles and twilight again turned to daytime as flames flushed color back into the green.
Finally, Assanis returned to the stage to take a selfie with the large group and end the ceremony with a Blue Hens chant.
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