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'Make your time matter,' Hogan tells new students

by Elizabeth Omara-Otunnu - September 4, 2007

Convocation this year launched the UConn careers of some 3,000 undergraduates. It also marked the start of incoming President Michael Hogan’s duties at the University.

“I’m a freshman too,” Hogan told members of the Class of 2011 assembled in Gampel Pavilion Aug. 24.

He noted that this year’s freshmen are the first UConn class he will see all the way through to graduation.

“Because we’re starting out on this amazing journey together,” he said, “I know how you’re feeling today.”

In a speech that drew laughter and applause from the audience, he said he also understood how the parents were feeling.

As the parent of four children, all of whom are college graduates, he said, “If I see any of you tearing up because your baby is leaving home, I won’t think you’re crazy.”

On the other hand, he added, some parents may be thinking about how to “repurpose” their kid’s bedroom – as a TV room, perhaps, or a study.

Hogan said as a parent, history professor, and university administrator, he likes to give advice.

He said that having made one of the smartest decisions in their life to come to UConn, the students now have access to the resources of the number one public university in New England.

“You have the chance to work with top-notch faculty and with peers who will challenge and inspire you,” he said, as well as myriad opportunities outside the classroom.

“Learn about everything you can,” he advised, “and if something interests you, give it a try. You never know where it might lead, and it might make you a more interesting person. That’s always an advantage.

“It’s also important to recognize the big, big difference between high school and college,” he continued. “You suddenly have much more freedom than ever before – and a whole lot more responsibility to go along with it. … You need to make smart choices … learn how to organize and manage your own time.”

Hogan suggested the students begin to make two ongoing lists, one of what matters to them, the other of how they spend their time, and to work on bringing the two lists into alignment: “Make it your ambition to make your time matter.”

Looking ahead to graduation, Hogan said, “four years from now, let’s hope … we’re going to look back on what we went through together” – everything from making lifelong friends to gaining weight from eating a lot of pizza.

At graduation, he told the students, your parents will take pride in how much you’ve grown, and wonder what to do with all the money they no longer have to spend on your tuition.

Hogan closed by expressing appreciation to outgoing University President Philip Austin for “more than a decade of very dedicated work.”

He said UConn is a great university “in large part because of the work of this astonishing academic leader. We are standing on the shoulders of generations that came before us.”

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