James McClendon, Editor-in-Chief

Thursday, Sept. 22, marked the first day of fall and for Utica College the next 48 hours would bring the beginning of another new season.

The bleachers were filled with students, but they were not there to see a football game. They were there for the Inauguration of UC’s first female president, Laura Casamento.

The ceremony began with Senior Associate Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies Robert Halliday announcing the members of the marching procession line as it entered Charles A. Gaetano stadium.

The procession was led by Professor of Management Thomas Rossi who served as the official Mace Bearer.

At the tail end of the procession line was Casamento. She entered the stadium to the sound of cheers and applause. Casamento waved to the crowd with both hands and gave the thumbs-up sign.

Members of the procession line slowly made their way to their seats and remained standing as Casamento walked down the aisle toward the stage. The National Anthem was then sung by student Taneill Davis.

Chair of the Board of Trustees Mark Pilipczuk was responsible for officially declaring the instillation of Casamento as the president of UC.

“I firmly believe that as an institution we are equal to the challenges of a new age,” Pilipczuk said. “We are extremely fortunate to have able leadership to guide our way forward.”

As Casamento walked to the podium, she pointed and waved to the crowd of cheering students.

Casamento was then presented with the three official symbols of her authority as president of Utica College.

She was given the UC Institutional Charter, which officially established the school as an independent college and gives it the power to grant academic degrees.

Next, Casamento received the Presidential Seal. Chairman of the Presidential Search Committee Mark Salsbury was bestowed the honor of presenting the medallion. Pilipczuk then placed the medallion around Casamento’s neck.

Rossi then presented Casamento with the Mace of UC. The mace was a gift from the class of 1989, and according to the UC Inauguration webpage, it represents the unique mission of UC, which is to provide a college education that is accessible to all, liberal and humanizing, practical and purposeful.

Casamento began her speech by thanking the Inauguration Committee and the faculty and the staff at UC for all of their hard work, not only with the ceremony but on a daily basis.

Casamento also gave a special thanks to the students.

“To our students who have entrusted their education to this college, thank you for inspiring us every day and shinning so brightly,” Casamento said.

Casamento has pushed for higher graduation and retention rates and her speech highlighted the importance of this.

“When a student does not persist to a timely graduation, chances are we will have failed,” Casamento said, “he or she will have made an investment that did not pay off, and we will have made a promise that we did not keep.”

Casamento’s speech was moving for senior Elliot Coleman. Coleman’s role in the Inauguration was as a student representative. It was his job to be the voice of his fellow students and to provide a bridge between the students and the committee.

“The most impactful moment I can remember was when President Casamento said, ‘The world needs more Utica College graduates,’” Coleman said. “That truly meant a lot to not only me, but I am sure a lot of other students as well.”

At the end of her speech, Casamento was given another standing ovation. As the crowd applauded, she made her way down the aisle and led the procession back out of the stadium.

Just as she was about to exit, she gave a final wave and thumbs up to the students in the bleachers.