President Urges New Students to 'Grab the Spirit of Community'

Freshmen and Transfer Students Engage in Four Days of Orientation Activities

August 19, 2012

New students engage in the tradition of starting their WC experience by signing the Campus Rock.

New students engage in the tradition of starting their WC experience by signing the Campus Rock.

President Jim Reynolds challenged members of Wilmington College’s Class of 2016 Friday (Aug. 17) at the New Student Convocation to take a risk.

First he had the 364 new students raise their hands if they were from towns of fewer than 10,000 residents, from cities of more than 50,000, if they grew up on a farm and whether they were the first in their families to attend college.

Each of those questions solicited a significant number of raised hands.

“Now you know you have fellow students here that have experiences similar to yours,” Reynolds said, noting that, despite there being much diversity among class members, there also is a lot of commonality.

“I urge you to seek out a friendship with a person of a different background,” he said. “It’s really important you reach out to each other and create this bond.”

From these bonds will come a stronger campus community, which is one of the College’s core values.
“We greatly value diversity here and we strive to create that sense of community,” he said in hearkening the nation’s Latin motto: E Pluribus Unum — one from many. “This is not a place where you can disappear into the crowd, not a place where you can sit on the sidelines.

(LEFT) President Jim Reynolds welcomes Josh Hocker, a freshman from Camden, to Friday's lunch at the president's home.

“This is a place that will make your life different, but you have to play a part in changing your life. We’re excited about you being here and we welcome you.”

Student government president Edmund Besong also introduced himself to the new students.

“Whether it was the College’s values of excellence, community, diversity, integrity, respect for all persons, service, and peace and social justice, or that you can call your professors by their first names, or the small, beautiful campus or that we have Wi-Fi everywhere; whatever is your reason for coming to Wilmington College, you’re here and you are welcome!” he said.

Erika Goodwin, interim vice president for academic affairs, said they are “embarking upon a transformative and exciting” adventure.

“I hope someday you’ll look back at your time at WC and realize we helped prepare you to make a living, make a life and make a difference,” she said.

Goodwin described the faculty and staff as the students’ “partners, mentors, friends and allies.”
Mark Denniston, vice president for enrollment management, presented the new class as a “talented and diverse” mix of students. Indeed the 294 freshmen and 70 transfer students come from Ohio and 13 other states, as well as Sweden and England.

(RIGHT) Freshmen Austin Bourne of Liberty, Ind., and Marissa Elliott of Columbus, load mulch into wheelbarrows at Denver Williams Park.

They have a 3.2 cumulative high school grade point average and possess interests in music, art, theatre, athletics and community service. Their most popular academic majors include athletic training, agriculture, education, biology and business administration.

Chris Case, a member of the Class of 1993 and president of the Alumni Council, said he was an underachieving high school student from a single parent home when Wilmington College “gave me a chance.” He thrived at WC, held internships, joined a fraternity, studied in Austria, Mexico and Haiti, and today is married with a son and enjoys a successful career in criminal justice.

“I want you to take advantage of the opportunities you have at Wilmington College,” he said.
New students arrived Thursday and, after moving in, began four days of new student orientation activities. They also engaged in the WC tradition of starting their College life by signing the Campus Rock, a seven-ton boulders that’s been situated in front of College Hall since 1906.

The students also engaged in community service projects Saturday at such locales as Denver Williams Park, the Murphy Theatre, Sugar Grove Cemetery and the Clinton County Homeless Shelter.
Saturday evening, the students ate dinner in the homes of two dozen, local WC alumni.

Classes started Monday.