Dear members of the Shenandoah University community,
Within the space of two syllables, “welcome” encapsulates so much meaning. It’s a friendly greeting, an inclusive invitation, a verbal embrace. And Shenandoah, at its heart, is a welcoming place.
I welcome you to what promises to be great academic year.
Most of our newest students joined us last Tuesday and had their first Shenandoah experiences throughout an activity-filled Welcome Week. This year, we welcomed what appears to be our largest first-year (freshman) class ever, which has an expected enrollment of more than 480 students, and includes at least three pairs of twins! Including transfer students, we anticipate that approximately 685 new undergraduates are joining us this year.
Our students are starting a new academic year at a university where two teams (baseball and women’s basketball) won ODAC championships within the past year, where a new residence hall for upperclass students (Dove’s Nest in The Village) has just opened, and in October, ground will be broken for another (“The Q,” also in The Village, which will open next August).
They’ll receive a personalized education, via small classes, from faculty members who are passionate about teaching and about their fields. These faculty members are serving as experts to media outlets, lending their clinical expertise to healthcare systems, making scholarly presentations on C-SPAN, performing on the greatest stages worldwide and overseeing a myriad of hands-on educational experiences. Students are conducting research and having their undergraduate and graduate research published, earning accolades for their performances, and collaborating across disciplines to add even greater depth to their learning.
They’re also studying in innovative, new programs such as virtual reality design, singer-songwriting, and esports, two of which are the first of their kind in Virginia and among the first academic programs in these disciplines in the nation.
It’s an exciting time to be at Shenandoah, where energy, rigor and kindness infuse our experiences. May the enthusiasm our newest students experienced during Welcome Week continue throughout this coming semester and academic year. Here’s to an amazing semester, year, and first week of classes.
It’s a great day to be a Hornet!
Tracy Fitzsimmons, Ph.D.