University of Richmond President Kevin Hallock has spent the academic year meeting his new constituents. He spoke at the grand opening of the Student Center for Equity and Inclusion. He attended the march in support of survivors of sexual assault. He watched the men’s basketball team win the Atlantic 10 championship. As spring 2022 comes to an end, UR will celebrate Hallock’s official inauguration this weekend.
The events come a year after UR officials announced Hallock would start his job as the 11th president in fall 2021. The inauguration events — including a ceremony, a festival and numerous discussions — aim to bring the UR community together as the first series of large-scale events since UR entered the Green Stage of the Physical Distancing Framework, which removed size restrictions on gatherings.
“We're mindful, by the way, that we are still in a pandemic,” Chief of Staff Dara Gocheski said. “We have been through a pandemic for the last two-ish years and not everyone is used to being together.”
There will be live streaming options for the events to increase accessibility for community members who are not comfortable being in crowds or may not have the time to attend the events in person, Gocheski said.
A discussion to celebrate mentored research kicked off the festivities at 3 p.m. on April 7 in the Queally Center for Admission and Career Services. The inauguration ceremony will take place at 10:30 a.m. in the Robins Center, which will be followed by a community festival on the Westhampton Green.
Washington and Lee University, Shenandoah University, Union College and Cornell University’s presidents will join Hallock in discussing the future of higher education at 3:30 p.m. in the Queally Center. The night will come to a close with an evening celebration with food trucks at 7 p.m. in the Millhiser Green.
A football scrimmage will mark the end of the festivities at 1 p.m. on April 9 in the E. Claiborne Robins Stadium.
The planning committee, consisting of students, faculty and staff, started working together in October to present the values and ideas that UR wanted to put forward this weekend, Gocheski said.
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“When you think of inauguration, sometimes you think it's a moment in time that's installing a president, and we immediately decided as a team, organically again, to say, ‘It's so much more than that,’” Gocheski said. “It's not a president's prom. It's a celebration of a community.”
For those still wary of COVID-19, there will be masks available at the events and a grab-and-go lunch available after the inauguration ceremony, said Cynthia Price, associate vice president of media and public relations.
“I hear this over and over, ‘Oh, I haven't eaten in a restaurant yet. I'm not sure about this,’” Price said. “So, now you can grab a box lunch and be eating outside and still partaking in all of the activities.”
First-year Sydney Boehman represented Spiderboard in helping plan the community festival that will include student performances, lawn games, cotton candy, popcorn, photo booths and other carnival-related activities, she said.
“I really like being able to try to create a sense of tradition and school spirit on this campus, and just be able to feel like students' voices are heard,” she said.
The evening will go out with a bang of fireworks and live music from the Faculty Lounge — composed of Psychology professor Laura Knouse, Law professor Steve Allred and former professor Barry Lawson. Three Sheets to the Wind, America’s #1 Tribute to Yacht Rock, will also perform.
Contact editor-in-chief Jackie Llanos at email@example.com.
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