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New Student Welcome

Watch the first-ever virtual New Student Welcome.

The Office of Orientation & Transition invited the campus community to join President Ruth Watkins for the ninth annual New Student Welcome on Sunday evening, Aug. 23, 2020, as the university welcomed first-year students and their families and friends to the University of Utah community.

For the first time, the New Student Welcome took place virtually and was emailed to all new first-year students and family members. This spirited event featured Watkins, Senior Vice President Dan Reed, faculty speaker, Karen Paisley and student leader Giulia da Silva.

In case you missed it, find speaker highlights and the full New Student Welcome video below. The quotes have been condensed for space and clarity.

Ruth Watkins, president of the University of Utah

University of Utah president Ruth Watkins "flashing the U" while wearing face covering.“Welcome to the U.  We are thrilled you are joining us.  We wish we could welcome you in person, but I pledge that when we are able to come together, we will have a big celebration to properly welcome you to our campus.

You are at the center of everything we do at the U. We are here for you and we will do all we can to support you in your academic journey. That remains unchanged.

A bit of advice: Find a mentor to work with.  That will be a key to your success here at the U. Another key—don’t hesitate to ask for help or guidance. Our student success advisors, residential advisors and library staff, they are all here to help you navigate and make the university a little bit smaller and better for you.

And one last thing, go Utah!”

Dan Reed, senior vice president of the University of Utah

Dan Reed, senior vice president of the University of Utah “I know this is going to be a fall unlike any other.  People are uncertain with COVID about what it will actually be like to be here in the fall, but if you are a student, look at me and listen to me. Know that you are going to be in good hands. We are committed to your health and safety, but you will be part of community. Once you find your people, you are at home. That will be here even in these circumstances."

Giulia da Silva, 2020 New Student Welcome student speaker

Biology and international studies major

Giulia da Silva, 2020 New Student Welcome student speaker smiles for photo standing outside Marriott Library at the University of Utah“During my first year I learned a lot about my purpose. I am just really grateful for the people and the things that helped me feel like I belonged at the University of Utah. I suffered a lot from Imposter Syndrome. I always felt like I wasn’t supposed to be here, I didn’t belong and I wasn’t good enough, and those people—those professors, those faculty members—they all helped me understand that I do belong and that my future is here.”

Karen Paisley, 2020 New Student Welcome faculty speaker

Associate dean for Academic Affairs, College of Health
Associate professor, Parks, Recreation & Tourism

Karen Paisley, 2020 New Student Welcome faculty speaker smiles for photo outside Marriott Library at the University of Utah“When we think about what you’re going to get from your time here, there are four things.

One is knowledge and skills, which is kind of the no-brainer, right? Second is community. We want you to find your people. We want you to find a community that you want to contribute to and want to be a part of. We want you to be able to make an impact, which is the third piece. We want you to make a change that is meaningful and positive to you.

And then transformation is my personal favorite. Get to know us. Come see us in our office hours. Let us be supportive. Let us help you figure out paths. Let us write letters. Let us just be involved in your transformation.”

Find more information about the New Student Welcome and other Weeks of Welcome events here and download the MobileU app.  If you have any questions, contact the Office of Orientation & Transition at or 801-581-7069.