This week, more than 900 new first-year and transfer students have been getting much better acquainted with Elmhurst College, their academic home for the next few years.
Arriving bright and early on Wednesday, Aug. 21, several hundred first-year students moved into residence halls and began New Student Orientation activities. Bringing family and friends for support—and extra help carrying bags, bedding and mini-fridges and fans—the students settled into their rooms, met their roommates and explored the campus.
The new students will join returning students and graduate students for the start of classes on Monday, Aug. 26.
At the Family Welcome, President Troy D. VanAken reassured parents that their students would be in good hands. “I want you to know that all of us here have been working very hard these last several weeks to get the campus ready for your young women and men,” he said. “As they begin their Elmhurst Journey, please know that we have provided a setting for them where they will thrive.”
Then the students said goodbye to their families and started to learn more about each other and campus life.
Over the next several days, their packed schedules include meeting their First-Year Seminar classmates, faculty members and other students in their major; taking part in a community service project; tackling an adventure obstacle course, and visiting the president’s home. They also took some time to explore their values, and to learn about building an inclusive community and making the transition to college life.
During the New Student Convocation ceremony, Connie Mixon, interim vice president for academic affairs, welcomed the new students to “our ever-widening circle of students, alumni, staff, faculty, trustees and friends who have found a sense of belonging at Elmhurst. … You are here because we know you have the ability, talent and determination to succeed. We are investing in you, and will do everything in our power to help you succeed, both inside and outside of the classroom.”
President VanAken drew from game show categories—Hopeless Romantics, Major Awards, Marketable Skills, and Cringeworthy—to share some fun facts about the Class of 2023.
Under Hopeless Romantics, he noted that this summer, “one of you had a picnic under the stars with your girlfriend, one of you loves watching old movies, and one of you embroidered pocket squares for your boyfriend.”
Under Major Awards, he said, “One of you was voted Best Hair in your senior class, one of you won the 2018 American Legion national championship in youth shooting sports, and one of you raised prize-winning show rabbits.”
Under Marketable Skills, he noted that the Class of 2023 includes a part-time plumber, a web comic writer and a wooden-pen carver, as well as a number of enterprising musicians who write songs, deejay, perform at weddings, and have even released albums.
“Finally, under Cringeworthy, one of you says you’ve broken 40-plus bones. I assume these are 40 of your own bones, right?” he asked, drawing laughter.
“Each of you brings distinctive gifts to your class and this campus,” he said. “Individually and together, you will achieve great things. We look forward to getting to know all of you, and to sharing this special place with you.”