The University marks the beginning of each academic year with Opening Exercises which was held in 2012 at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 9, in the University Chapel. The annual interfaith service includes an address by President Shirley M. Tilghman, and the recognition of academic achievements of undergraduate students.
Freshmen enter the chapel with classmates in their residential college and are joined by Trustees, faculty, and administrators who process in academic regalia. Following the ceremony, freshmen participate in a "pre-rade" walking from the chapel through FitzRandolph Gate on Nassau Street, officially entering the campus to start their undergraduate experience and to be greeted by fellow Princetonians.
President Tilghman's speech from 2012 can be found at this link. A video of Opening Exercises is also one of the University convocations that can be found at the WebMedia site (these events are stored chronologically).