11 Things I Saw On Inauguration Day

  1. SNOW!
    The busy day was marked by a very rare morning snow display, an event which added to the uniqueness of the occasion. Historians could count the snow sightings on campus with one hand — one particularly memorable storm was the storm of 1965. There was so much snow that students could ski down Administration Hill. Wednesday was just a dusting, but no less exciting, especially for Redlands students who have never seen snow before, like freshman Angelina Parisi ’25 who couldn’t wait to take a picture.
  2. Tents on the lawn of Redlands and Chapel Drive
    Anticipation for Wednesday’s celebrations had been building for days, and on the morning of President Krista Newkirk’s inauguration, the campus was abuzz. Party tents were set up at either end of the Quad to host the evening festivities. To facilitate movement between the tents and the chapel, the side streets in front of the residence halls have been closed, forcing students to park their cars elsewhere. Later that evening, sections of Colton Avenue were also blocked.
  3. Treatment of student organizations on the Quad
    Before the inauguration ceremony, I saw smiling students in formal attire preparing to attend the ceremony together as representatives of sports teams, student organizations, Greek life, and university clubs. As other students went to class – myself included – visitors flocked to the chapel to watch the ceremony.
  4. The inauguration ceremony
    The ceremony was packed with speakers and performances, including some beautiful songs from the Redlands Choir that gave me goosebumps even as I watched the livestream. I especially enjoyed hearing ASUR President Chloe Levine ’22 as a student body representative talk about her first impressions of President Newkirk.


    U of R’s bulldog mascot Addie poses before walking in the inaugural procession. (Photo courtesy of Mary Littlejohn)

  5. Addie in a dress!
    Sniffling happily, Addie visited some of the halls of residence during the day to greet students. At Founders Hall, Daria Santana 23 ran excitedly to say hello to the University’s mascot and even had the chance to pet her.
  6. Sun at noon
    The sun came out just in time for students, faculty and alumni to gather outside the Glenn Wallichs Theater for the In-N-Out and Lime food truck lunch. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to eat a burger, but the food trucks were a fast-food treat among the regular dining options on campus.
  7. The very first REDtalks
    At the Wallichs Theater I saw many people talking and laughing at the patio tables, enjoying the sunny moments and the jovial attitude of the day. A mix of guests spread out to watch the series of lectures given by various affiliated universities; the event was hosted by former Evan Sanford ’17. As the talks began, people continued to pour into the theater and seats quickly filled as the audience was eager to hear the insights offered by the speakers throughout the event.
  8. Accessible options to participate in the celebration
    The University made the event accessible to a wider audience by offering a live recording of the inauguration ceremony and the REDtalks for all those who couldn’t come in person. (They’re also available online for those who just want to listen to them a second time.) Speakers captured people’s interest with humorous anecdotes, advice and encouragement. Alumnus Mike Barker ’15, for example, offered some helpful tips on personal branding and why it’s important. The theme for the day revolved around the strength of the Redlands community and optimism for its continued success and growth.
  9. An epic dessert bar!
    The party continued into the night with live music and refreshments on the Quad. The party included a dessert bar, with build-your-own s’mores and cheesecake stations, which were popular among guests. I felt like a kid in a candy store when I saw the table filled with licorice, chocolates and lollipops.
  10. live music
    The open tent was noisy with happy conversations and live music from Los Angeles-based band LoveStoned, who performed a mix of new and old classics, like Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” and “Cake by the Ocean ” from DNCE. The dance floor, bathed in colorful lights, was packed with students, staff and faculty cutting the proverbial carpet. I spotted President Newkirk in a sparkling red robe, dancing wholeheartedly with the students until the event was over.
  11. A lit sky
    To everyone’s delight and after a little technical difficulty, there was a light show of shapes – Addie’s face, the ‘R’ of the Redlands – put together by programmed drones; the Redlands spirit display was an innovative alternative to the fireworks display and caught the eyes of all revelers. After a round of warm applause, the dancing and merriment continued for several hours and could be heard across campus. he ended the day with the same excitement as it had started.

Learn more about the University of Redlands.

Elizabeth J. Harless