Photos by Chris Crews

The Halton Arena in the Student Activity Center was crowded with thousands of new students as UNC Charlotte faculty, alumni and  student government officials welcomed them to the University Aug. 22.

Beginning at 11 a.m., the roughly hour-long ceremony hosted a series of speakers who spoke about different aspects of UNC Charlotte’s history and culture. Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Joan Lorden was the first to speak that day. Lorden welcomed the students to the university, telling them that the Miner symbolizes “hard work and perseverance.” She also mentioned the dozens of faculty members who had come out to help welcome the students.

The second speaker to take the podium was UNC Charlotte Chancellor Philip Dubois. He explained the university’s vision and mission statement. He also mentioned how UNC Charlotte contributes 61 percent of the total enrollment growth in the UNC school system.

“We are here to make a difference and you, as students, joined with our faculty and our staff as the difference makers. Getting involved in the community is an essential part of being a student here,” said Dubois in his speech.

The next speaker after Dubois was Board of Trustees member Micheal Wilson, who is also an alumnus of UNC Charlotte. Wilson spoke more on the history of the university and UNC Charlotte’s founder Bonnie Cone.

After a personal anecdote from Wilson’s time studying at UNC Charlotte, he introduced the key note speaker for the night, Associate Professor of the Department of Religious Studies Kent Brintnall, who was asked to speak from the perspective of a faculty member on how students canto make the most of their college experience.

“If you approach your college education with the spirit of exploration and discovery, you will succeed,” Brintnall said. “You will succeed because you will be transformed and you will remain open to transformation.”

Student Body President Fahn Darkor addressing the class of 2020 during the Student Convocation.
Student Body President Fahn Darkor addressing the class of 2020 during the Student Convocation. Photo by Chris Crews

The final speaker of the day was Student Body President Fahn Darkor. Darkor spoke about the Honor Code and what it is to be a Noble Niner. There are nine components to being a Noble Niner: integrity, honor, scholarship, compassion, accountability, respect, dignity and character. While he did not have enough time to cover all of them, Darkor did elaborate on scholarship, compassion, accountability, respect and nobility.

“I thought [the speeches] were wonderful and they’ve done a great job of welcoming us to campus,” said new student Afra Mahmook. “During the ceremony, they kept repeating the words ‘explore’, ‘discover’ and ‘succeed’. It was really motivating me to step out of my comfort zone.”

For some students, the chance to hear what the different speakers had to say helped take the edge off of starting their college experience.

“I was a little nervous when I got here, but after hearing what everybody had to say at the ceremony, I felt a lot more at ease,” said new student Megan Mull.

As Darkor concluded his speech, he invited some students to stand in the bleachers above the stage and lead the arena in singing UNC Charlotte’s alma Mmater. The UNC Charlotte Pride of Niner Nation made a surprise appearance to perform the fight song as students exited the arena.

Member of the Pride of Niner Nation Marching Band performing at the Student Convocation. Photo by Leysha Caraballo.
Member of the Pride of Niner Nation Marching Band performing at the Student Convocation. Photo by Leysha Caraballo

While the ceremony held in the Halton Arena was the main event of the day, there were several other events and activities scheduled to acclimate the new students to campus.

Students spent most of the day split into their respective colleges. They learned about their different colleges, met faculty and the dean of their college and received other useful information for their time at UNC Charlotte.


Nick Cropper is the News Editor for the Niner Times. Currently, he is a senior pursuing a major in PR and a minor in journalism. Although he has lived in Charlotte for close to four years now, he is originally from Maryland. Contact him at for questions or if you want to pitch a potential story.