The Presidential Induction Planning Committee (PIPC) held its first meeting last Thursday, coming together to discuss ideas and goals for President-elect Falk’s induction this fall. The committee comprises students, faculty, staff and alumni.
The committee is led by College Marshal Jeff Strait, who is responsible for organizing convocation, commencement and, in the event of a new president, a presidential induction. Students on the committee include Emanuel Yekutiel ’11, Jerusa Contee ’11, Jessica de la Cuesta ’12 and Yifan Cao ’13, who submitted self-nominations and were appointed to the committee by College Council.
Strait emphasized that the main goal of the PIPC is to “welcome Falk into the Williams community and also showcase some of the talents of the Williams students and alumni.”
The first obstacle for the PIPC was deciding on the date of the induction and determining how it would be carried out in conjunction with the fall convocation. This year’s convocation had been scheduled for Sept. 25, and the PIPC decided that it would be appropriate to combine convocation and the induction into one larger event. This schedule allows the PIPC eight months to organize the event. Convocation will still include Bicentennial medalists and speakers, but the panel discussion that usually takes place on Friday afternoon will be moved to Saturday morning. Induction and convocation will then take place around 5 p.m.
Strait explained that the PIPC will break into six working groups to deal with event logistics, the guest list, media and communications, design and decoration, dining, and the planning of additional events. The working groups will then come together after the first month of planning and evaluate their decisions and progress.
A variety of faculty and staff will serve on the committee, including facilities, Dining Services and faculty members from the performing arts departments.
Because food is a crucial part of such a large event, Dining Services will have a large role in planning an all-campus picnic lunch as well as special dinners in the dining halls for students on Induction night.
Strait stressed the importance of having faculty from the performing arts on the PIPC. Because there are a few “open blocks” of time during the day, these spaces will be filled with events that showcase the talents of College students. Strait said he hopes to have some sort of Jamboree or another performance open to the College community.
Guests at the induction will include students, faculty, staff and alumni. In addition, other colleges and universities will send delegates to the Induction. About 750 people attended President Schapiro’s induction in 2000. Because this year’s event will be combined with convocation, an additional 500 attendees are expected. Although its official location is tentative, the induction will likely be held in Chandler Gymnasium, which has a fire-code capacity of 1500.
Falk has told the PIPC that he would like the induction to celebrate the College. Combining the event with convocation will not only allow for a broader focus for the day, but will also honor the accomplishments of the Class of 2011. The PIPC hopes the event will include traditional aspects of an induction ceremony, in which the chairman of the Board of Trustees hands over a book of the college laws to the new president, who is then welcomed by students, faculty, staff, alumni and residents of Williamstown.