Happy New Year!

This weekend the Elon community welcomed over 1400 new freshman and transfer students.  We have a great class and at last, the new academic year is off and running!  

Last Sunday I did what I do every year on the Sunday prior to Move In day, I introduced the class to our Orientation Leaders (OLs).   If you are already an Elon family member, you know how amazing these students are.  Year after year parents tell me how smoothly the move-in experience is at Elon compared to other schools.   Naturally, I love to hear this but can take no credit.   Our Orientation program is highly regarded and, under the talented leadership of Emily Ivey, the OLs help facilitate an experience that is often ridden with angst and emotional discord.

When I met with the OLs last week, I told them that the Friday students arrive is my least favorite day of the year – for two reasons.   Don’t get me wrong, we LOVE greeting the families we’ve worked with for over a year.    Still, as I wrote last year, I am aware of the rollercoaster of emotions families experience this weekend.   There is nothing more powerful in this world than emotion.    For many students and families, the college experience has been a goal for many years.    Now that the day has arrived, students and parents alike are facing a period of transition that they have been looking forward to for years but have secretly dreaded just as long.    When I think about the day my own children will go to college, my heart nearly stops.    Still, I know it’s one of life’s inevitable transitions that I know is coming…..  Enough said.

The second reason today is my least favorite day of the year is that our class number goes from 1369 freshman and 75 transfer students to zero!   That’s right, the cycle begins again.  One of our staff members heads out this weekend and many others will follow in the coming weeks.     Following a record number of visitors this summer, applications for the fall of 2011 are already coming in.   As sad as we are to turn this incredible group of young women and men over to the university, we know they are in great hands!   Elon faculty and staff will embrace and champion them for the next four years.    It’s what makes the university and my role here so wonderful.

As I type, the Farewell Lunch is winding down.  At this very moment, a lifetime of memories for parents and students is flooding minds.   The drive home will be long for many parents – and though most students won’t admit it, many are feeling a sense of emptiness.    It won’t last long, though.   We’ll keep them very busy over the next few days before classes begin – and then routines will be established.   Everyone can look forward to Family Weekend October 1- 3.

Welcome to the Elon family.   That’s not just a phrase.  We mean it.   Family members support one another and that’s exactly what we’ll do over the next four years.   

Happy New Year!

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