Mount Union Class of 2019 Welcomed to Campus
August 31, 2015
ALLIANCE, Ohio – The University of Mount Union officially welcomed its newest class of students during the annual Matriculation Convocation ceremony held Sunday afternoon.
The Class of 2019 ushered in the academic year with a ceremony held on the lawn of the University’s iconic Chapman Hall. Dr. Patricia Draves, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the University, welcomed new students –approximately 600 in total. Draves encouraged students to make connections with faculty, among different classes, outside and inside the classroom and with members of the Mount Union community.
“Making connections takes work and will require your full focus and dedication,” Draves said. “You have four short years here so make the most of it. Challenge yourself, challenge one another and yes, be sure to challenge your professors.”
Dr. W. Richard Merriman, Jr., who began his role as president of the University in July, noted the unique bond he shares with the Class of 2019.
“As you begin your first year as students at this exceptional university, I begin my first year as its president,” Merriman said. “I understand the natural inclination to feel a little nervous about a big transition in life. Margot and I certainly did when we moved to Alliance just a few months ago. People here have welcomed us warmly and I’m confident that you’ll soon feel very much at home here as well.”
Merriman said the Class of 2019 comes from Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia. In addition, international students represent Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Spain and the United Kingdom.
“At Mount Union, you really get to enjoy the best of both worlds,” Merriman continued. “As students, you can thrive in the intimate and caring environment typically associated with a smaller college while enjoying the expanded opportunities and variety of a larger university.”
Dr. Robert Woodward, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry and 2015 Great Teacher, shared words of wisdom with the incoming class. Like Merriman, Woodward told students he shares something in common with them – he was born and raised in a small town in Ohio. Growing up in Ohio, he said, he learned from an early age that the best college football programs in America reside in Ohio – The Ohio State University Buckeyes and the Mount Union Purple Raiders.
Woodward said one of his fondest memories of college football took place last year as Ohio State faced adversity and yet managed to win the Big Ten Championship. He recalled Ohio State coach Urban Meyer suggesting that the family-like culture amongst his players was a key contributor to their success. This idea stood out to Woodward because it’s a concept he’s noticed in his years as a professor.
“Each fall, I actually tell my organic chemistry students that their experience in my course will be exponentially better and successful once they recognize that they are all in this together and become like family to each other,” Woodward said.
Woodward told the Class of 2019 that they are now part of the Mount Union family and shared why a sense of family is invaluable when it comes to success. First, he said, being part of a family means a person needs to be authentic.
“We want you to be authentic, to be your true self. And when you do let this happen, it is going to help create an awesome classroom experience because you will not only engage with others, but also begin to develop the skills necessary to actually think and analyze not just yourself but any situation you may encounter in life,” Woodward said.
Woodward also encouraged students to communicate when problems arise and take advantage of the support system of faculty, staff and fellow students at Mount Union.
Mount Union senior Daria Chalupa, a senior of Parma, Ohio and president of Student Senate, told freshmen that the friends they make this year will be friends they carry into the rest of their lives and the memories they make on campus will be remembered for a lifetime.
“If you need help, any kind of help, there is a Mount Union support system for you,” Chalupa said. We will help you get where you need to go, because we are here to support you.”
Alumni Association representative Bill Schumacher ’82 encouraged students to be involved on campus, both while a student and after graduation.
“I know it’s hard to think a few years down the road to the day you will graduate and all that will come after, but I encourage you to make meaningful connections now that will benefit you long into your futures,” Schumacher said.
After learning about the significance of the Matriculation ceremony from Draves, students had an opportunity to sign the Matriculation Book. Signing the book is a pledge that students will dedicate their efforts and talents to excellence in liberal learning and career preparation. The book, which remains in the care of the Office of the President until graduation, will be on display in the University Store during graduation week in 2019 for students to see.