Sunshine and smiling faces greeted a new class of Wittenberg University students Thursday morning as current students, alumni and university administrators helped unload cars and direct students to their new homes.
Wittenberg’s class of 2016 consists of 538 students, said Ryan Maurer, director of news service, with 75 students coming from Clark County and other contiguous counties. In all, 31 states and five countries are represented in the new class.
Rachel Santel and her new roommate, Caroline Kessner, are two freshmen who met in person for the first time Thursday. They were randomly matched to live together, and had spoken through social media and over Skype video calls before meeting outside Woodlawn Hall, their new home.
Santel, a Cincinnati native, moved into their room on Sunday but was excited for Kessner to finally join her.
Kessner and her parents left their home in Rochester, N.Y., at 1 a.m. Thursday to make the eight-hour drive to Springfield.
“It’s very exciting,” said Andrea Kessner, Caroline Kessner’s mother.
Both Caroline Kessner and Santel said they’re most worried about meeting new people and their time management skills while adjusting to college.
However, Caroline Kessner and her mother were both happy to have help with the move-in.
“It’s wonderful, almost ridiculous,” Andrea Kessner said.
The helpers were some of the 68 orientation assistants hired to lead new students through a four-day series of events and discussions called New Student Days. The assistants will help students find their way around and join students for meals.
Other New Student Day events include a hypnotist performance, language placement exams, information sessions about academic departments, Witt Olympics and trips to area stores to pick up “last minute necessities.”
New Wittenberg President Laurie Joyner addressed the class of 2016 at Commencement Hollow on Thursday afternoon.
“You’re my class and we’re going through this orientation process together,” Joyner said. “It’s the start of an amazing journey for both of us.”
Joyner told students to strive to make the world a better place when they leave the confines of Wittenberg, but not forget the people who came before them. She also urged the new class to wear Wittenberg’s name with pride and remember that receiving an education isn’t a guarantee in the 21st century.
“Access to a liberal arts education is an incredible privilege, but that privilege comes with a responsibility,” she said.
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