New student arrival: check. Orientation: check. Official start of classes: check. Things are basically underway here for the 2019-2020 academic year, but without a good convoking, it doesn’t quite feel like the year has officially started. That will all change on Friday with this year’s Convocation ceremony. Convocation is always equal parts formal and celebratory, full of academic pageantry and the good energy of a community happy to be gathered together for the first time of the year. It feels a bit more special than usual this year, though. The current title of the Convocation keynote speaker is Chief Executive Officer & Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All & Co-Chair of UN Energy, and that designation will hold for the next month or so. As of early October, though, we’ll know her as the 14th Dean of The Fletcher School. It’s doubly exciting to welcome incoming Dean Rachel Kyte to Fletcher on Friday: notwithstanding her upcoming leadership of Fletcher, her career in climate change policy at the UN is a huge point of interest among lots of folks here, and with the approaching 2019 Climate Action Summit at the UN, her visit this week could hardly be more timely. Obviously, though, there’s also a lot of personal interest here to see our future Dean for the first time with the entire school community.
So Convocation should be a lively event! Once convoked, the year will really start to move. Students will be writing papers and forming study groups before we know it, and on our end we’ll more formally turn our attention to the early stages of building next year’s class, starting with travels all over the world to a variety of recruitment and outreach events. I’ll hope to see a lot of readers on the road, and to meet many more here at Fletcher.