CalArts President Ravi S. Rajan, administration and faculty welcomed the incoming class of undergraduate and graduate students during Convocation, reviving a historical CalArts tradition.
The ceremony began on Sunday, Sept. 1, with a performance by the CalArts Gamelan Ensemble, which led the procession of new students through the school and descending the staircase in the Main Gallery.
In his welcome address Rajan spoke about what it means to join the CalArts community:
“Each of you is here for one reason because you’re an artist. You have a voice inside you that refuses to be silent. It calls to you and guides you in everything that you do. And now it’s brought you here at this moment so you can be part of CalArts’ community of artists. CalArts has always been a place for those who don’t settle for the status quo. We believe that artists are integral to society because they experiment and create in order to shape the future.”
Rajan also touched on the evolution of his role since coming to CalArts three years ago. His first year was dedicated primarily to listening to develop a better understanding of the CalArts community. In his second year, he focused on Institute planning, raising important conversations about “where we are today and where we want to be in the future,” and his third year, he exclaimed,”is a time of action.”
Several of the major initiatives that will be made available to students at the start of this academic year include increased access to on-campus and local healthcare, a revamped financial aid process, as well as greater financial support.
Rajan has also developed a new system of shared governance unique to higher education so that all voices within the Institute have greater opportunities to be heard. The new CalArts assembly is formed by three autonomous councils for faculty, staff and students and begins meeting in September.
In his closing Convocation remarks, Rajan encouraged the community to “continue to be experimental and to put new things forward that no one has ever imagined, because it will be those things that, as our first provost said, ‘will put the whole cracked world back together.’”
After a stream of blue and white confetti, Provost Tracie Costantino took to the dais and spoke about her deep commitment to ensuring that students’ learning experience at CalArts is “rich and fulfilling.” She also shared several statistics about the “beautifully diverse” incoming class, which includes 322 undergraduates and 219 graduate students from 41 U.S. states and 33 countries around the world.
Costantino encouraged new students to take time during their journey to reflect upon what it means to be from CalArts and what they will share with the world as CalArtians.
Convocation concluded with introductions of the deans of each school at CalArts, as well as a speech by student trustee Ryan Adame (Theater MFA 20).
Monday, Sept. 9 marks the first day of fall classes.
— By Elizabeth Liang