SMITHFIELD, RI – Welcome Week is a significant moment at Bryant University each year as the entire campus community mobilizes to help students get moved in, connected, and ready for a successful academic experience. Programs for first-year and transfer students, including a special orientation session for international and multicultural students, are designed to provide personalized support as the newest members of the Bryant community adjust to life on campus.
"There has never been a better time to join Bryant University.”
“We pay very close attention to ensuring that new Bryant students know of every opportunity and resource for success available to them, and we look forward to starting the academic year with a strong foundation for student engagement and success,” said Dr. Inge-Lise Ameer, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students.
The week’s events welcoming the largest first-year class in Bryant’s history culminated with the annual Convocation Ceremony, a long-held Bryant tradition marking the official opening of the academic year and the beginning of a life-changing educational journey. Through this annual ceremony, the entire community comes together to welcome new members to Bryant and start them on the road to success.
This year’s Convocation celebration, held Sept. 7 at Bryant’s Beirne Stadium, marked the beginning of a scholarly journey based on shared values and mission. Students, faculty, alumni, and staff gathered to offer inspiration and support to the 970 members of Bryant’s Class of 2026, as well as students transferring to Bryant for their first semester at the University.
“Convocation is one of the oldest and most important of all academic traditions at Bryant University,” said Provost and Chief Academic Officer Rupendra Paliwal, Ph.D., who led the ceremony. “According to this tradition, we reaffirm our commitment to the shared values and the purposes that set us apart as a community dedicated to our educational mission: to educate and inspire.”
Bryant’s Convocation traditions include the Student Pledge, the introduction of the incoming class, and messages of welcome and support from university leaders, faculty, and students.
"Your class represents the largest, and one of the most impressive, groups ever entering Bryant University,” President Ross Gittell, Ph.D. told the nearly 1000 students in attendance. “We are on the move together—growing, innovating, and preparing to not just succeed—but lead in a dynamic and new global economy. There has never been a better time to join Bryant University.”
In her welcome remarks, Michelle Cloutier, Vice President of Enrollment Management, whose team reviewed the pool of nearly 9,000 applications from which the Class of 2026 was selected, said that each student “brings something unique to Bryant” and that each will “enrich our campus and the world around us.”
Speaking on behalf of Bryant’s dedicated faculty, Alex Perullo, Ph.D., Professor of Anthropology and Global Studies, noted that the beginning of the college journey is a rite of passage and that some “excitement, nervousness, and doubt” are natural. He encouraged students to connect and learn about the world from others and emphasized the value of listening.
“When I travel to remote communities overseas, I am often struck by the willingness of people to slow down and listen to each other. Their attention to listening encourages a sense of belonging—hearing others, as much as they hear you.”
Zachary Zambarano ’23, President of Bryant Student Government, urged students to get involved. “Join new clubs and organizations, introduce yourself to new crowds of people, do not be afraid to go to your professors when you need a little bit of help and be kind to others, especially your fellow students,” he said. “You are the author of your own experiences at Bryant, and everybody here is excited to help you achieve your highest potential.”
In the end, “a Bryant education pays off very well,” said President Gittell. According to Georgetown University, Bryant ranks in the top 1% nationally out of 4,500 schools included in their most recent study.
“It is an exciting time in the history of Bryant. Everywhere you look, Bryant is planning for an even bolder future,” added Provost Paliwal.