WILMINGTON — The recently concluded 2018-19 academic year — Wilmington College’s 149th — reflects the theme of this publication, “Clinton County on the Rise,” as proof that the area’s four-year College is on the rise.
WC opened the school year with a record enrollment for both the number of new freshmen and its entering class, the latter of which also includes transfer students. The College hosted a record 385 first-time freshmen and 450 new students. It also marked the first year since 2007 in which the total main campus enrollment eclipsed 1,100 full-time students.
Wilmington and other Clinton County students comprised a significant number in the record class. Indeed, many of them are taking advantage of attaining a quality, local education with assistance from the College’s unique Clinton County SUCCEEDS program, which features a loan-to-grant award of up to $10,000 for local residents.
Eligible students included May 2018 graduates from Blanchester, Clinton-Massie, East Clinton and Wilmington high schools, and Wilmington Christian Academy.
In addition, it’s open to graduates who are Clinton County residents that were home-schooled or attended schools outside the county, and non-residents who attended Clinton County schools.
Also, students earning a two-year degree at Southern State Community College are eligible to receive the $3,000 loan-to-grant for each of their final two years upon transferring to WC.
The loan-to-grant program includes $2,000 in annual loans issued for students’ freshmen and sophomore years, and $3,000 in annual loans for their junior and senior years. Upon their graduation from Wilmington College, the students’ loan amount of as much as $10,000 will be completely forgiven.
College starts radio station, announces plans for marching band
New initiatives were plentiful in 2018-19, starting with a pair of aural ones that are literally music to one’s ears.
For the first time ever, WC has a student-run radio station. The Quake, Wilmington College Radio, debuted in February as a non-commercial, open-format, online audio broadcast accessible around the world on the Internet at www.wilmingtonquake.com.
Upon joining the full-time faculty in communication arts last fall, Nick Wiget quickly discovered an untapped interest among students in having a radio station.
Wiget, who brings experience as an announcer for big-time sporting events and as radio station adviser at Wright State University, said the opportunities for involvement, from on-air personalities to behind-the-scenes technicians and station administration, are as vast as one’s imagination.
Indeed, students have jumped at the chance to host everything from music shows as traditional disc jockeys to a show on theatre and, of course, sports coverage. The Quake broadcasts 24/7 with various genres of music playing when students are not on the air.
The second one is the Quaker Thunder Pep Band, which enhanced the atmosphere at football and basketball games this year. Director Stephen Wadsack expects the band to grow from its sweet 16 this past year to as many as 36 this fall.
The College is giving $1,000 Talent Awards to founding members and new recruits with the expectation they will become the foundation for a marching band in several years.
Wadsack said the College’s new endeavor in instrumental music parallels its long-time offerings in intercollegiate athletics. Both sports teams and musical groups provide opportunities for leadership development, personal growth and hands-on learning experiences.
Master’s program in Athletic Training approved for fall ‘19
The College’s reputation for hosting a premiere program in athletic training reached a new level of accomplishment when it earned final approval this spring for expanding to the master’s level.
WC will implement a Master of Science in Athletic Training degree program starting in fall 2019 with the first graduates expected in May 2023. WC will be only the sixth institution in Ohio to host a fully accredited graduate program in athletic training.
The national accrediting body and associated entities for athletic training are behind AT
becoming a graduate level program across the country in light of the discipline’s ever-increasing levels of knowledge required in the field.
Starting in 2022, bachelor’s degree programs in athletic training will become obsolete at accredited schools across the country and AT will become a graduate-level course of study. A number of Ohio schools have already dropped their undergraduate AT programs, rather than pursue the graduate level, with more attrition likely in the offing.
This fall’s freshmen interested in athletic training will enroll as exercise science majors with a concentration in allied health. They will receive their bachelor’s degree in an accelerated program lasting about three years before enrolling in two years of studies for a Master of Science in Athletic Training degree.
Agriculture continues as largest academic major
Athletic training has long been an area featuring numerous hands-on learning opportunities. Agriculture is another such field of study.
As agriculture is a major employer and economic force in Clinton County, within in the past 10 years, it has become the College’s largest academic area with 25 percent of the main campus enrollment studying agri-business, agronomy, agricultural communications, animal science or the area of plant, environmental and soil.
A minor in sustainability focuses on the social, political and environmental considerations regarding food production while the area’s newest academic concentration deals with food policy and agricultural advocacy.
In early spring, the Aggies attracted a record 1,367 high school students to its 61st annual Livestock Judging Contest. The time-honored event attracted students from Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky to hone their skills at agronomy and judging swine, sheep, goats, equine, beef and dairy cattle.
Since its founding in 1870, Wilmington College continues to be an educational and cultural pillar in the community.
Its College-Community Summer Theatre is a recognized gem producing popular musicals starring local talent for, as of this summer, 47 years. The community continues to enjoy attending Music Dept. concerts and WC Theatre’s three student productions during the academic year, while Harcum Gallery hosts five exhibits annually, including ones featuring local artists.
The Meriam R. Hare Quaker Heritage Center and Peace Resource Center regularly feature compelling exhibits and such programing as the College’s Westheimer Peace Symposium, MLK observance and Black History Month/Women’s History Month celebrations provide the community with many venues for entertainment, enlightenment and cultural appreciation.
The College also fields 18 intercollegiate sports, including equestrian, all of which are
available for public viewing. This year, the men’s basketball team came within a three-point loss of winning the Ohio Athletic Conference regular season championship.
College’s impacts local economy to tune of $46.5 million
Finally, the presence of a small college has a great impact on Wilmington and Clinton County’s economy to the tune of $46.5 million.
A study conducted by the University of Cincinnati’s Economics Center found Wilmington College to be a major economic driver when considering its hand in 745 jobs in the county, as well as the institution’s operations, student spending and capital expenditures.
The latest research, which focused on the 2015-16 academic year, indicated a $46.5 million impact in the county largely through direct expenditures and the purchases of its employees and students.
“Wilmington College is embedded in the local community and economy of Clinton County,” the study proclaimed. “While the College’s main function is to educate its students, it directly and indirectly supports the local economy through purchases, as well as its ability to retain students and workers, who then expend money in the county.”
President Jim Reynolds said the study aptly illustrates the wide-ranging multiplier effect WC contributes in the local community.
“The College has long been — and correctly so — perceived as a beacon for higher education and cultural opportunities in Wilmington, Clinton County and southwest Ohio, but this study especially accentuates its role as an economic pillar,” Reynolds said.