First Flight & First Year Academic Convocation

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Video by Sean Casey, Office of News & Public Affairs

In the entrance of the Jesuit headquarters in Rome is a striking statue of Ignatius of Loyola (founder of the Jesuits) with the motto "Ite, inflammate omnia." — "Go set the world aflame," his parting words to Francis Xavier who was carrying the Gospel to the East. It is the same charge our students hear as they begin their experiences at Boston College. We ask that they take the gift of education and carry it to great places throughout the world.

Each year, First Year Academic Convocation begins with the assembly of freshmen on Linden Lane. Faculty, staff, and administrators challenge the class to "Set the world aflame." Students then take their “first flight,” a torch-led procession through Gasson Hall, down the Higgins stairs, and on to Conte Forum to hear a guest speaker.

Since the Fall of 2004, Conversations in the First Year have enriched the intellectual lives of our newest students. At Orientation, all incoming students are given a common text. This book helps to create the year's academic theme. When students gather for Convocation, they hear from a guest speaker who inspired the summer reading. Convocation is filled with ritual, ideas, and conversation that kick off our academic year.


In May, members of the graduating class, clad in cap and gown, make their "Final Flight" procession along the same route, this time to Alumni Stadium for their main Commencement ceremony.

2016 Convocation with Steve Pemberton