First-Year Academic Gathering

Watch the Class of 2021 Academic Gathering


The Purpose and Focus of the Academic Gathering

The First-Year Academic Gathering traditionally marks the start of the academic year commemorated by a coming together of the Fairfield University community. In addition to welcoming new students, it is a time set aside for the community as a whole to reflect on not only academic pursuits but also the larger mission and values of the institution. Finally, the incoming class will receive their class gift. The ceremony will take place on Tuesday, September 4, 2018 at 5 p.m. on the Bellarmine Lawn. The rain location is the Recreational Complex Field House.

K‚ÄĆeynote Speaker

Aaron Van Dyke, PhD, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry.

Born and raised in an apple-farming town in eastern Washington State, Aaron Van Dyke, PhD, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, received his BS in chemistry from Seattle University as a Sullivan Scholar. He then earned a PhD in organic chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he developed methods for synthesizing the toxins responsible for paralytic shellfish poisoning. Dr. Van Dyke then completed postdoctoral training at the University of Michigan as an American Cancer Society fellow, studying the connection between protein misregulation and human disease.

Beginning his independent career at Fairfield University in 2013, Dr. Van Dyke was recognized as Fairfield’s Undergraduate Teacher of the Year in 2015 and received the College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Advising and Mentoring Award in 2017. An avid chef and Fairfield’s faculty-in-residence, Dr. Van Dyke routinely shares his cooking with campus neighbors and has given numerous public lectures on culinary chemistry. He also serves on the Barry M. Goldwater selection committee, the nation’s most prestigious scholarship for undergraduates in the natural sciences, engineering, and mathematics.

First-Year Academic Gathering Common Read and Webinar

To prepare for the Academic Gathering, first-year students are highly encouraged to read several readings and attend a webinar to discuss topics and themes that will be explored during Dr. Van Dyke’s keynote at the Academic Gathering on September 4, 2018.

Readings will be made available soon through the First-Year Checklist.

Students are highly encourage to attend one of the following webinars. Registration details will be available soon.

  • Thursday, July 19 at 8 p.m. (students)
  • Wednesday, August 15 at 8 p.m. (students)
  • Thursday, August 23 at 8 p.m. (open to students and their parent or guardian)

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