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Harvard undergraduates flocked to the Science and Engineering Complex on Tuesday for the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences’ first in-person sophomore convocation since February 2020.
The event, which celebrates undergraduates who declared SEAS concentrations last fall, featured a speech by outgoing SEAS Dean Francis J. Doyle III and concentrators. Inside the complex, tables of SEAS merchandise and food greeted more 100 students who attended the event.
According to Doyle, the school is welcoming its largest-ever class of sophomore concentrators with 502 students.
“Our students at the College are now 24 percent of the entire College,” Doyle said. “If I were to take you back to when the school started 15 years ago, we were about 5, 6, 7 percent of the College.”
Doyle also reiterated the school’s commitment to diversity, inclusion, and belonging initiatives.
“We’re committed to making this an open and welcoming environment,” he said.
For the last two years, the school hosted its sophomore convocation on Zoom because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Prior to 2020, SEAS held the event in the Science Center.
Doyle said he was excited to finally host the celebration in-person in the SEC.
“There’s something about the atrium here and the flow and the sense of congregating that I think is more energizing,” Doyle said.
Leaders of SEAS-affiliated student organizations set up tables inside the main atrium to talk to attendees about club opportunities before and after the speeches.
“We’re working on a number of initiatives at SEAS with our student body, as well as our counseling staff, and some of the work involves partnering with the dynamic student-led organizations,” Doyle said during his speech.
Michael Y. Zhao ’25, co-president of the Harvard Computer Society, said the convocation was a chance for club leaders to share their work with students.
“We got to present and show off what we offer to prospective members,” Zhao said. “It’s a very unique opportunity for us to be able to get so much exposure to different students and overall, I just think it’s a great way to get the SEAS community together.”
Nicholas K. Chebat ’25, a Computer Science and Statistics concentrator, said the convocation allowed him to discover a network of peers in the field.
“I’ve never been so connected to this engineering building,” Nicholas said. “It’s usually just a place for your classes, but now it’s a place for community.”
Nibrass Fathi ’25, a Computer Science concentrator, said the event was a good opportunity to find out more about what “Harvard and SEAS has to offer.”
As the founder of the SEAS sophomore convocation, Doyle discussed the significance of the event returning to an in-person setting.
“I have to say it’s bittersweet,” Doyle said. “I created this event in SEAS for the sophomores as a way to welcome them into the community.”
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