At the end of a celebratory week, Carolyn Ringer-Lepre was officially inaugurated as Salisbury University's tenth president at her investiture ceremony May 5. Local officials, faculty, staff, alumni, students and more gathered in red square to observe the event.
Previously scheduled as Multicultural Week, Inauguration Week combined the festivities to host activities, performances, academic presentations and celebrations for students and alumni.
During her installment, Lepre described the inauguration as a milestone in Salisbury's history and a way to build momentum and progress.
"This is an opportunity to honor the University's heritage, remember our traditions and our commitment to learning, and to bring our Sea Gull family together to celebrate and reaffirm our sense of pride in our students, alumni, faculty, staff and our community," she said.
After a week of festive programming and events, some students felt inconvenienced by parking restrictions enforced to serve the parking needs of the inauguration ceremony. In light of the large expected attendance, Parking Services announced in a campus wide email that various lots would close for the day May 5.
Lots near Blackwell and the Guerrieri Academic Commons were closed, leaving students like Adela Rubio struggling to commute to classes three weeks before finals.
"I feel like it's a little distracting for us, having to try and focus on finals with all of this going on," Rubio said. "The parking is very inconvenient. We're just trying to get to class on time and I had to park behind Starbucks."
South Asian Student Association Vice President Zainab Jaben said Inauguration Week took priority over Multicultural Week. Last year, the week ended with the Multicultural Fest, a campus-wide event of celebration and much-needed stress relief before finals. This year, the event was held on a Monday and forced indoors by weather.
"People didn't even know about Multicultural Week, if we're being honest," she said. "I feel like I've only ever seen signs of Inauguration Week ... there's been emails about it like every single day."
Despite some students' frustrations, others attended the ceremony and enjoyed the week of events around campus. Josiah Parker, recently announced as the University System of Maryland's next student regent, said Inauguration Week let students build a closer bond with Lepre.
"This whole week we've been building that close connection with the president," Parker said. "We're going to really bring that culture out and showcase exactly what Salisbury University is all about."
Parker said Lepre's commitment to values and openness to hear student voices are exactly what the campus needs.
By LIAM MCGINNES
Featured images courtesy of Liam McGinnes