McDaniel welcomes third largest class in school history

From left to right: Freshmen Abby Binder, Mikey Pritts, James McGetrick, and Brenton Pegue. Photo by Gunnar Ward.

Between tearful goodbyes with loved ones and a bustling orientation schedule, incoming freshmen students will remember the controlled chaos that occurred on August 23: freshman move-in day. For the 513 incoming McDaniel students, move-in day gave many of them their first tastes of independence and discovering a new life on the Hill. The incoming students are filling a void on campus by nearly replacing the second largest class in history — the Class of 2017, missing a complete tie by only one student.

College offers students the opportunity to face life-changing challenges that will affect their lives. Incoming or returning students will be adjusting to new facets of life, but the faculty of McDaniel College are willing to help. Despite the incoming class being the third largest class in the Hill’s history, faculty are content with the challenge they, too, will face in assisting so many.

“We were pleased [with the class size],” Florence Hines, Dean of Admissions, says. With the rise in school popularity, there are many reasons incoming students decided to choose McDaniel College. From the friendly environment to the abundance of opportunities, students from all over the world are drawn to McDaniel’s offerings.

“I liked the idea of small class sizes and the great opportunities around the campus,” freshman Brenton Pegues says. With the number of students enrolled in a course generally not exceeding more than around 20, the student and faculty communities are close.

“I chose [McDaniel] because how great the community [on campus] is,” freshman James McGetrick says.

The relationships students build with faculty members begins before they set foot on the campus as students. Social media serves as a primary tool for students to interact with one other and faculty over the summer. Leading the social media front is Dean Karen Violanti (known as Dean V) and Erin Giles from McDaniel’s First Stop Office.

“We have loved using social media and other online venues to connect with students,” Violanti says. “We try to be as creative and proactive as possible [with] all our online tools to connect students to each other, faculty, and to campus offices and departments.”

After students arrive on campus, the First Stop crew makes sure to welcome them even further.

“We are so excited each year to meet and connect with students and their families, and above all, start to build an important and personalized relationship with each new student joining the McDaniel family,” Violanti says.

Every incoming student handles the adjustment to the college lifestyle differently. McDaniel encourages all students to become involved in extracurricular activities in order to help this adjustment process. Whether it’s joining one of the various ethnic clubs on campus, signing up for an academic club, or playing an intramural sport, there is something for everyone. Any extracurricular can make this adjustment and the college experience all the more enjoyable.

“As a student, you want to connect with people and things that mirror your values and interests,” Violanti says. “Give yourself time to build a life and an experience; rely on friends and supports in places on campus to support the positive and challenging times.”

College serves as an opportunity to develop individually and to forge relationships that will last a lifetime. For McDaniel’s new students, their story starts now.