It was standing-room-only in the Barnhardt Student Activities Center Salons when the College of Computing and Informatics (CCI) welcomed its largest-ever freshman class - more than 600 students strong - to UNC Charlotte at Convocation on August 20, 2018.
If lost on anyone that CCI is the fastest-growing College in the University of North Carolina System, the reality was on full display as students, faculty, staff and administrators gathered to kick off Day One in dynamic fashion. As students, some still wiping sleep from their eyes, entered the common areas ajacent to the SAC Salons, each was greeted warmly and guided seamlessly through registration, picking up a CCI goodie bag, name tag and breakfast.
Once in the salons, which had been transformed into a single, giant hall, students and faculty mingled before being led in a group stretch by CCI's Dean's Ambassadors.
CCI's Director of Communications emcee'd the program, but it was an address by Dean Fatma Mili that set the tone for a great Day One and the promise of citizenship in a very special community for each and every new member of the CCI family.
"We are happy you are here and look forward to getting to know you and see you blossom and grow as a competent computing professional, a compassionate person, and a responsible thoughtful citizen," said Mili. "We realize your being here today is a very important milestone. Congratulations!"
As her address continued, Mili offered an inspiring twist on the meaning of CCI. In addition to an accronym used to identify the College, she asked all to consider that it also stands for Competence, Community and Integrity. With that thought lingering in the air, attention shifted to a community-building exercise.
Ice breakers for large groups are difficult and fail more often than not. In this case, however, five rounds of "Would You Rather..." had the room buzzing with activity, chatter and fellowship. Left in the wake was a glacier's share of broken ice. New friends were made. Opinions were shared and debated as each participant gained a greater sense of kinship and commitment to the individual and shared jouney ahead as members of the CCI community.
Another highlight, perhaps second only to the Dean's address, was the announcement of a raffle winner. At stake was a Dell 7480 laptop and as each number on the winning ticket was called, the enthusiasm and tension built to a crescendo until freshman Christopher Myrick had his number called and took the podium. Grabbing the mic, Myrick hilariously thanked his mom and all the people who supported him on his way up. It was a fitting conclusion to a rousing Convocation and the perfect way to punctuate Day One.
(Photos: Lea Thompson and Tatyana Thomas)