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Fall Semester Classes Start at Wilmington College

WC Hosting Potential Largest Entering Class

August 25, 2014

WC's newest students engage in the tradition of signing the Campus Rock, an activity they will repeat on the eve of their graduation.

WC's newest students engage in the tradition of signing the Campus Rock, an activity they will repeat on the eve of their graduation.

Wilmington College began its fall semester Monday (Aug. 25) against a backdrop of excitement fueled by new building projects, a potential record-breaking group of new students and the promise of a milestone year.

Nearly 450 freshmen and transfer students arrived Thursday and embarked upon a new student orientation program designed to prepare them for a successful Wilmington College experience.

Those upperclassmen not already on campus as part of fall athletics, athletic training, orientation or residence life arrived Sunday.

President Jim Reynolds expressed his excitement with the more than 390-member freshman class that, when combined with some 57 transfer students, constitutes what could be the largest group of new students ever. Enrollment becomes official after 14 days.

“I love to see how full the theatre is — it’s great to have you all here,” he said at Friday’s New Student Convocation at which faculty and staff formally committed themselves to be the students partners in success, and the students vowed to embrace living in a community of mutual respect.

“Each of you came to campus with your own story and your own place in the world,” Reynolds said. “You bring a multitude of experiences that have shaped your lives.”

He said they constitute a “melting pot of experiences” now joined together in a campus community that will “live, learn and love together.” Indeed, they will write the “newest chapter” in the book of Wilmington College.

(LEFT) New students work on landscapng the entrance to College Hall parking lot. They tackled projects throughout the community.

“All of you were meant for this moment,” he added. “Be willing to set the bar high in everything you do. Be the person you always wanted to be. You are embarking upon one of life’s most transformative adventures."

Ellen Short, president of Student Government Association, cautioned the new students not to fall into the self-defeating freshmen year she imposed upon herself as an “angry loner girl.”

“My sophomore year I decided to grow up and, since then, I’ve had the best years of my life,” Short said, noting that, among other things, she has since joined a sorority, led 50 students, faculty and staff on a lobbying trip to Washington D.C., and was elected president of SGA.

“Get uncomfortable,” she said. “WC is the perfect place to challenge yourselves.”

(RIGHT) New students make their way across campus to the New Student Convocation Friday.

Indeed, getting out of one’s comfort zone was one of the goals of the four-day new student orientation program that featured ice-breaking activities, social interaction, learning about campus activities, community service projects, addressing such issues as alcohol use and relationships, and opportunities to learn about local businesses and organizations.

Tara Lydy, orientation director, called it an “amazing four days of learning, emotions, energy, team work, reflection and fun.” She noted how Sunday evening the new students had an opportunity to reflect upon the intensive orientation program.

“Students shared how they were challenged, inspired, and gently eased out of their comfort zone to embrace WC and all we have to offer,” Lydy said. “Many shared how they have grown in just four days through the orientation experience while setting them up for a successful start to the semester.

“Expressions of love, a sense of family and belonging, acceptance and respect for other were shared repeatedly throughout the closing event.”

The freshman class is not only potentially the largest in WC history, it also represents the most geographically diverse with students coming from 16 states and Sweden, and features the largest group of students of color.

Sixty-nine students are considered legacies in that their parents, step-parents, grandparents or siblings are alumni. The most popular majors are agriculture, athletic training, education, biology, business and sport management, and popular areas of interest include fine arts, athletics and service.