A rainy Sunday morning and afternoon led to a venue switch for Opening Convocation and the Honor Induction. These events typically place students on the Lawn facing the Rotunda, a symbolic setting that comes full circle four years later during Final Exercises when they walk toward Old Cabell Hall at the other end of the Lawn.
Ryan, who was introduced by Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students Robyn Hadley, began his speech by thanking those who pivoted quickly to allow for the event to carry on without a snag. He then made clear his message for the class of 2026. He wants them to fall in love with the pursuit of truth by the time they graduate.
“The world needs more people committed first and foremost to getting at the truth,” the president said.
That message was echoed throughout the night as Ryan touched on the University’s statement on free expression and free inquiry, released with Board of Visitors approval in June 2021. The statement includes the lines: “Academic commitment to free inquiry reflects the view that every idea must be heard so that it may be subjected to the rigorous scrutiny necessary to advance knowledge. This process requires deep critical engagement, as well as humility in the recognition that many commonly accepted views have proved mistaken, while many ostracized views have illuminated the path toward truth.”