News Details

SP2’s 2023 Convocation urges hard work, connection, and social impact

Students gather in the Hall of Flags in Penn's Houston Hall for Convocation

Authored by: Juliana Rosati

Photography by: Carson Easterly

Student Life


Welcoming new students from 28 states and territories and 22 countries, Penn’s School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2) held a rousing 2023 Convocation in a packed Hall of Flags at Penn’s Houston Hall. Remarks by SP2’s leadership highlighted the importance of working hard, drawing strength from interpersonal connections, and pursuing social impact.

In addition, Dr. Clinkscales expressed the School’s confidence in each student’s ability to create social impact. “The communities that you’re going to be working with, the policies you’re going to be addressing, the nonprofits you’re going to be working in, they all need you to show up unapologetically,” she said.

Two SP2 students sitting in the front row of a packed Hall of Flags wave at the camera.

Dr. Mazzola also shared an overview of the states, countries, and undergraduate institutions of the School’s 297 new students and highlighted each of SP2’s five degree programs, asking the students enrolled in them to stand. 

Dr. Bachman pointed to practices of inclusion as an underpinning of the SP2 community. “You must be ready to listen before speaking, to learn from those around you, to challenge and attend to your own biases, which you have, just like I have,” she said. “We welcome you to our ongoing efforts to do better, and we want you to join us. As I said, we need you to work with us on this journey. I can’t wait to get started, because I know you are going to be successful at changing the world.”

“You don’t have to be afraid to reach out and take risks, and to experiment with new ideas,” said Dr. Bourjolly. “The time you have here at SP2 is relatively short, and it will go fast. But the seeds of your efforts while you’re here will be planted in a rich environment of opportunities that will give you great rewards. So take risks and venture to grow. Welcome again to SP2 and the start of your academic year!”