Austin College | Sherman Texas
Austin College faculty, administrators, and student leaders are prepared to welcome nearly 440 new freshmen—the largest class in college history—to campus Friday, August 17, in preparation for the start of the 170th year of the college. New student and transfer orientation will continue over the next several days, and returning students will make their way to campus next Tuesday and Wednesday.
President Steven P. O’Day is looking forward to students’ arrivals and the beginning of Fall Term 2018. He assumed the presidency at the college on October 31, 2017, and says he is enjoying his first experience of Austin College Opening of School traditions. He and his wife, Cece, plan to be out on campus Friday to welcome students and their families as they arrive for residence hall move-in and orientation activities.
The day also will include completion of required forms and gathering of necessary schedules and instructions, while leaving time to put rooms in order and perhaps visit area retailers to stock up on snacks, toiletries, and other last-minute items.
Saturday morning, the New Student Conference schedule will begin in earnest, with an official Welcome including greetings and guidance from President O’Day, student body president senior Clarissa Caballero Pinedo, and campus administrators. The session will be followed by residence hall meetings, freshman seminar gatherings with classmates and faculty, various Student Life orientation sessions, and to end the day, a comedy entertainer.
The closing session for parents and families on Sunday will end their activities on campus and leave the freshmen to settle in on their own. A number of activities will remain for freshmen and transfer students to continue their preparation for the beginning of classes, including sessions on Academic Integrity, guidance on successful academic progress and residence hall adjustments from returning students, and the “First We Serve” volunteer project that Austin College freshman students have completed together the past several years, assembling nutritious food packets for shipment to those in need through the nonprofit Kids Against Hunger.
The academic year officially will get underway with the traditional Opening of School Convocation in Wynne Chapel Wednesday, August 22, at 7 p.m. The event begins with the entrance of the new students and then the procession of rising seniors in caps and gowns for the first time and the college faculty in full academic regalia. David Baker, professor of physics, serves as College marshal and leads the procession carrying the official college mace.
President O’Day will present the opening address at the event that also includes performances by the A Cappella Choir, led by choral director Wayne Crannell of the music faculty; the official Investiture of the Class of 2022 and presentation of the class banner to students; students’ presentation of the class Academic Integrity book to President O’Day; and prayers for the new academic year.
Austin College, a private national liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas, has earned a reputation for excellence in academic preparation, international study, pre-professional foundations, leadership development, committed faculty, and hands-on, adventurous learning opportunities. One of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges That Change Lives, Austin College boasts a welcoming community that embraces diversity and individuality, with more than 40 percent of students representing ethnic minorities. A residential student body of approximately 1,275 students and a faculty of more than 100 allow a 13:1 student-faculty ratio and personalized attention. The College is related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA) and cultivates an inclusive atmosphere that supports students’ faith journeys regardless of religious tradition. Founded in 1849, the College is the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original name and charter.