Whittier College welcomed its newest and largest class for Orientation. President Sharon Herzberger gave her last annual speech at the Convocation and Light of Learning ceremony before her retirement. President Herzberger shared her hopes for the next class, saying “We hope you do get all As at this College; and some of you will. But we, who are gathered here tonight to celebrate your arrival, and those you will meet in the ensuing weeks have even higher aspirations for you. This is a College founded 130 years ago by people who thought a lot about what it would take to get an A in life, and we still think about that today.”
542 first-years joined the College community this week, filling classes and residence halls alike. So many of the incoming class are living on campusthat first years now live in every residence hall, and not just the designated first-year dorms, Stauffer and Johnson. The diverse class of 2021 hails from 14 different countries, and 27 states across the United States, according to Vice President of Enrollment Kieron Miller’s speech during Convocation.
Welcoming the big class was no small job. Preparation for Orientation began at the end of last academic year and stretched through the summer. The two weeks leading up to Orientation were filled with intense training for Residential Community Advisors (RCAs) and Commuter Community Advisors (CCAs). RCAs and CCAs covered new material in their training, including the fusion of CCAs responsibilities with Peer Mentor responsibilities. Peer Mentors would previously sit in on INTD classes throughout the semester, and be available to assist first-year students with the class only.
Dinner at the President’s house marked the end of Orientation. “After all the hectic stuff, just being able to meet the new first years and talk to them as peers was really nice,” said junior Orientation Leader Iyesha Ferguson.
After the rest of the students moved in, Program Board hosted the Dub C Block Party, a welcome back BBQ for all students held during Labor Day weekend. There was music, entertainment, and even a rock climbing wall for students to enjoy “The BBQ was a nice way to get back into the swing of things. “ said second-year Bella Mejos “I got to see my old friends and meet some of the incoming class. It got me excited for the upcoming year!” Other Program Board events for Welcome Week included free coffee and doughnuts, movie nights, Color Me Mine pottery, a Dodgers game, and even a trip to Santa Monica.
The start of the school year also brings changes around campus. Renovations to the Wallace “Chief” Newman Field and the Aubrey-Bonham Track in Memorial Stadium were completed in the weeks leading up to the school year. The project cost a total of $1.3 million, with over a million of the donations coming from Carole Pickup ’57 and Richard H. Pickup ’55. No small project, the 7,000 seat stadium is one of the largest for a Division III program on the west coast, according to Football coach Mike Neale. Completion of the project puts Whittier College Athletics “In a call of their own among NCAA Division III institutions,” said Executive Director of Athletics Robert Coleman. The track and field are now open and can be viewed during the upcoming football season.
“If Welcome Week is any indication, it’s going to be a great year!” said second-year Sophie Harper.
It will certainly be an eventful year, the College is searching for its new President and working on rebranding for the years to come .