WILMINGTON — Fall semester classes began Monday as Wilmington College opened its 152nd academic year with a student enrollment of nearly 1,000 students.
New freshmen and transfer students engaged in orientation activities last week and into the Welcome Weekend programming while the balance of returning students arrived on Sunday.
All fall sports’ preseason training has commenced, with the football and men’s soccer teams opening their regular seasons Sept. 1 followed by volleyball and cross country on Sept. 2 and women’s soccer on Sept. 3.
At Friday’s New Student Convocation, Student Government President Courtney Luderman urged the new students to hit the ground running by getting involved on campus as members of some of more than 50 student organizations.
“Step out of your comfort zone,” she said. “Three years ago, I was a new freshman sitting out there where you are. I never dreamed that three years later I would be speaking on stage as SGA president at your Convocation.”
Dr. Kenn Patterson, vice president and chief academic officer/dean of faculty, said the new students are carrying on a tradition the institution’s founders started over a century-and-a-half ago. “You are merging your dream with their dream — you’re now part of that place, that purpose and that mission. Our goal, our dream together is tied into your dream that you will find your place in the world.”
President Trevor Bates offered a few words of advice while welcoming the new students. He compared starting a new experience like going to college to working on a puzzle without looking at the front of the box. There will be challenges, bumps in the road and fulfilling experiences not yet imagined.
He urged them to do four things to ensure success: Make time for themselves. Get to know someone whose experiences are different from their own. Go to class prepared and never, never ever give up!
“The days ahead are going to be exciting. This next chapter of your life is going to be foundational. It will allow you to open new doors,” he said. “Each of you will be prepared, educated and inspired for a life of service and success. Welcome home!”
This year’s 356-student entering class is comprised of 322 new freshmen and 34 transfer students from 19 states, five foreign countries (Sweden, South Africa, Norway, Zimbabwe and Poland) and, collectively, boasts a most impressive 3.4 high school grade point average. There, they were leaders and student-athletes and involved in the arts.
Also, 38 are considered legacies as a parent, grandparent and/or sibling attended WC.