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Large Crop of New Students Arrive at Wilmington College

Fall Semester Classes Start Monday

August 21, 2014

Freshman Carly Pritchard of Lebanon moves into Pickett Hall with help from student volunteer and swim team member Mason Harris.

Freshman Carly Pritchard of Lebanon moves into Pickett Hall with help from student volunteer and swim team member Mason Harris.

Wilmington College welcomed what potentially could be the largest freshman class ever Thursday (Aug. 21) as new students moved in and began four days of orientation activities.

Upperclassmen will arrive this weekend with fall semester classes starting Monday (Aug. 25).

More than 450 freshmen and transfer students comprise what could be the most new students ever at the College’s main campus. Enrollment numbers will become official some 14 days after the start of school.

The College’s record for freshmen goes all the way back to 1946, when, fueled by the end of World War II and the GI Bill, the College hosted 383 new freshmen. In 2007, WC had its largest group of new students with 426 combined freshmen and transfer students.

President Jim Reynolds, along with his wife, Sue and several of WC’s vice presidents braved a rainy morning to welcome and direct new students and their families — car by car — as they pulled into the Austin-Pickett parking lot to move into the freshman residence halls.

An army of volunteers, including students and staff members, were on hand to assist families with the move-in.

Reynolds presided at a convocation of faculty and staff Wednesday in which he predicted 2014-15 — the College’s 144th academic year — has potential to be among the “most exciting” ever. He cited the large number of entering students coupled with new academic majors and building projects.

“There are a lot of incredibly exciting things happening on our campus,” he said. “I see us as a beacon of light, an island where students can go and think about things they never thought about.”

Indeed, the president said the College literally “changes family trees,” as many students represent the first generation in their family to pursue higher education.

“This is a place that has real meaning. Students have opportunities they’ve never had before,” he said to the faculty and staff in hearkening the College's hallmark for hands-on learning. “Everyday you come to work at Wilmington College, you make a difference in someone’s life. All the students we teach and interact with, you’re changing their family tree.”

Included in the New Student Orientation program are ice-breaking activities, learning about campus activities, community service projects, addressing such issues as alcohol use and relationships, and opportunities to learn about local businesses and organizations.