Class of 2018 greeted by traditions, campus improvements
After picking up keys and ID cards at check-in, the 426 members of the Class of 2018 were met the morning of Aug. 20 with yellow-shirted teams of more than 100 upperclassmen, staff and faculty – and even President Roger Casey – to help them move into their new homes on the Hill and begin their five-day orientation.
The Class of 2018, selected from a pool of 3,427 applicants, includes students from 23 states, the District of Columbia and five countries including Egypt, Greece, Thailand and Vietnam. First generation college students account for one third of the class, while more than one fourth are students of color.
With almost half of the incoming students representing the top 25 percent of their high school classes, McDaniel welcomes 42 new members of the Honors Program as well as the four inaugural Dorsey Scholars, who receive extra academic opportunities as well as scholarships that cover full tuition, room and board for all four years.
Between unpacking and meeting roommates, new students stopped by the freshly renovated Hoover Library to meet the librarians, visit the Information Technology Help Center and check out the brand new First Stop, home base for first-year deans, academic support services and tutoring as well as Alpha Lambda Delta, the first-year honor society.
After lunch in the award-winning Englar Dining Hall, a.k.a. “Glar,” on the lower level of the newly revitalized Decker College Center, the Class of 2018 met peer mentors and First Year Seminar classmates for the first time before congregating in Gill Center for Introduction Convocation, which represents the formal beginning of the academic year.
President Casey, leading students and families in a vocal proclamation of “I am McDaniel College,” then told the students, “A College is people. And those people are you. McDaniel is here for students first; and today at this ceremony, you officially become one of them.” He characteristically concluded with lyrics by rap artist Eminem: “You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow. This opportunity comes once in a lifetime, yo!”
A thunderstorm postponed the decades-old tradition in which every first-year student rings Old Main bell to signal their arrival as new students before saying goodbye to their families and guests.
At dusk students met with their classmates at WMC Alumni Hall and walked to Ward Memorial Arch, where they passed through the Arch to be welcomed into the McDaniel community. The Class of 2018 then followed a path illuminated by luminaries to Baker Memorial Chapel for a candle lighting ceremony, symbolizing the College’s original 1867 mission of bringing students “out of darkness into light.” After the ceremony, the students walked to Memorial Plaza to ring the Old Main bell.