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Harvard Alumni Association student representatives revealed orange as the official color of the class of 2016 to an audience of more than 100 sophomores gathered at a welcome back ceremony in Memorial Church on Thursday.
The event, sponsored by HAA, also featured speeches by students and administrators, including Dean of the Freshman Thomas A. Dingman ’67 and Interim Dean of the College Donald H. Pfister.
Dingman encouraged the sophomores to use their freshman year as a “springboard” for sophomore year and beyond.
“What stands out...was your goodwill, your tremendous volunteer spirit, and [your] lightening the load of dining hall workers and other Harvard staff,” Dingman said.
Dingman added that the Class of 2017 is “burdened trying to come after you,” noting the higher gender parity and number of foreign countries for the Class of 2016.
Speaking after Dingman, Pfister advised sophomores not to stress about their looming concentration declarations.
Following the two deans, the student representatives from the HAA unveiled a new banner for the Class of 2016.
The tradition of class colors began more than a hundred years ago when the upperclassman classes took up the colors of Dartmouth, Princeton, and Yale—green, orange, and blue, respectively—to promote class unity. At Commencement, rising sophomores would shed their freshman class color of crimson and receive the color of the graduating seniors.
The tradition disappeared after the 1960s, but was revived last year by students.
Undergraduate Council President Tara Raghuveer ’14 and UC Vice President Jen Q. Y. Zhu ’14 closed out the ceremony with words of advice.
“I want you to know that even though you have a year under your belt, no one expects you to have all the answers yet,” Raghuveer said. “You should never stop asking questions.”
The UC, which helped organize the event with the HAA, scheduled other events to follow the ceremony, including a TED-talk-style ‘2016 Speaks’ event on Thursday night and food trucks and music during lunch on Friday.
—Staff writer Steven S. Lee can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @StevenSJLee.
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