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Wittenberg Welcomes Diverse, Accomplished Class of 2014 To Campus

August 19, 2010  
 Filed in Headlines

Wittenberg faculty, staff and orientation assistants did the unloading to welcome new students and their families.

Springfield, Ohio — Wittenberg University rolled out the red carpet on Thursday, Aug. 19, for an academically astute and diverse freshman class. Members of the Class of 2014 were welcomed in the same personal manner that they were recruited as a large contingent of faculty and staff members joined nearly 100 orientation assistants (OAs) to help the new arrivals move into their residence halls.

From there, the OAs – Wittenberg student volunteers who lead New Student Days activities to help first-year students become acclimated to campus – took over. New Student Days, a series of activities organized by the Division of Student Development and the OAs, opened with a procession from picturesque Commencement Hollow, the site of these students’ future graduation, to the Health, Physical Education and Recreation (HPER) Center for a welcoming convocation led by University President Mark H. Erickson.

New Student Days continues throughout the weekend to include meetings with professors, social gatherings, activities and presentations on campus living. On Saturday, new students will also sign the Honor Roll, a formal document through which Wittenberg students acknowledge they will abide by the university’s honor code, a policy of academic integrity.

“Move-in and New Student Days are some of my favorite days every school year,” said Vice President of Enrollment Management and Dean of Students Sarah Kelly. “Our students, faculty and staff do a great job of welcoming the new members of the Wittenberg family. Our entire community just brims with energy and enthusiasm for the new year and all the possibilities that it brings.”

Thirty states and 11 countries other than the United States are represented in the incoming class, and the university’s ties to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America continues to bear fruit, with 70 new students having Lutheran religious affiliations. The students in the class also boast an outstanding academic profile, thanks in large part to 89 students who compiled a high school grade point average of 4.0 or higher, including 10 who earned valedictorian honors.

New students walked from Commencement Hollow to the HPER Center to open New Student Days activities.

Of particular note was the number of minority students who will start classes on Monday, Aug. 23. For the second straight year, Wittenberg’s efforts to attract a more diverse freshman class paid dividends with the addition of 81 new minority students, including 52 African Americans. Many of the new minority students are planning to participate in varsity athletics at Wittenberg, which claimed the newly re-named Dennis M. Collins North Coast Athletic Conference All-Sports Trophy in May 2010.

“We are pleased to have attracted so many outstanding students who are sure to enrich our campus,” said Director of Admission Karen Hunt. “Wittenberg University continues to attract top-quality students from throughout the United States and across the globe.

“Importantly, this year’s class is highlighted by so many well-rounded, gifted scholar-athletes, who we expect to perform admirably in the classroom and on the playing fields.”

The move-in day tradition was started by Erickson in 2005, less than two months after he became the university’s 13th president. It is part of what makes Wittenberg special – developing close personal relationships that make the educational process that much more satisfying.

The message is that Wittenberg isn’t just a beautiful place to visit – as most of the new students did at least once during the college search process. Wittenberg offers students a perfect setting for an academic journey that will prepare them well for the future.

“This is the kind of place where members of our faculty and staff become lifelong mentors and friends to our students,” Erickson said. “It begins on the first day they arrive on campus and continues for a lifetime.”

Written By: Ryan Maurer
Photos By: Erin Pence

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