Welcome Festivities Kick Off New School Year

Sept. 19. 2016 - Nearly 900 incoming freshmen gathered this morning on the UC Irvine Gateway Plaza, where they were welcomed officially into the Samueli School of Engineering family.

On a sunny, sizzling day, the students got some administrative “housecleaning,” information, then heard from each of the school’s five department chairs, who shared a little good-natured repartee about which department is most indispensable in a world of growing challenges. All five, however, agreed that engineers are key players in creating necessary advances in human health, civil infrastructure, electronics, mechanical systems, materials and aerospace. “The reality is that the whole world needs engineers, and you’ll all have to work with your colleagues in other departments to address the world’s grand global challenges,” said Chemical Engineering and Materials Science Professor and Department Chair Vasan Venugopalan, the last of the five to address the students.

Dean Gregory Washington repeated that message in his remarks. After telling the students that they were selected from more than 11,000 applicants, he said “We’re excited to have you here because we need you here. We need you to finish and graduate, and go out into the world and do magnificent things.”

In closing, Washington gave the group a tutorial in the proper way to show their UCI pride. He showed the eager freshman the correct way to form the “Zot” hand sign (“You have to properly curl your fingers back to form the snout,” he said), then on the count of three, led them in a rousing Zot! Zot! Zot!

Students also got information from school representatives about undergraduate student affairs, access and inclusion events, social media, student organizations and more.

The biggest incoming class in the school’s history is also one of the smartest; their average GPA is 4.04 with an average SAT score of 1841. Twenty-four percent of the incoming freshmen are women and 85 percent are Californians. The Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science comprises the largest group of incoming students, with 369 declaring electrical engineering or computer engineering as their major.

For more information on the week’s activities, see http://welcomeweek.asuci.uci.edu/.

--Anna Lynn Spitzer

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