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Summer orientation begins at MU

Jun. 23, 2010 @ 06:48 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Less than a month after graduating from high school, about 115 teenagers started their college careers on Tuesday at Marshall University's first summer orientation session.

Tuesday was reserved for those admitted into the newly-formed Honors College. Another 1,000 or more are expected for orientation Wednesday through Saturday.

The half-day started at the Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center, where Mary Todd, dean of the Honors College, and President Stephen Kopp addressed the students and their families.

Todd briefly spoke about starting a great tradition within the new college, while Kopp challenged students to work hard and remain focused on graduating.

"My challenge is dream big and think big," Kopp said. "And make an absolute commitment to finish what you started. We want to see you complete and earn your college degree."

He told parents and family members to support their loved ones as they start an important chapter in their life -- one that will likely direct them for decades to come.

"They will continue to need your love and support in the years ahead," Kopp said. "Be there for them, but give them space to grow into the person they aspire to be."

For Bill and Paula Roberts of Cross Lanes, Tuesday was anxiety-filled. They said they are extremely proud of their daughter, Jessica, but they know they are in the verge of turning her over to the world.

"It's just mildly overwhelming," Bill Roberts said. "Understanding this is the start of life on her own."

Some of the students admitted to the Honors College took advantage of an opportunity to stay on campus Monday night. Robert Denzie of St. Albans said it made him feel more like part of the university.

"It lets you know what it's going to be like down here," said Denzie, who plans to major in civil engineering.

The John Marshall Scholar also said he's excited to get started in August, having liked what's he's seen on campus, including the Recreation Center and strong academic programs.

Denzie also said he's following in the footsteps of his parents, who both attended Marshall. Last year, he made his first campus visit, coming down for the East Carolina University football game. He also toured the campus and found out more about the engineering program.

"I didn't really like Marshall until I realized it was going to be the best opportunity for me," he said.

In addition to receiving welcomes from Kopp and Todd, students also spent one-on-one time with an advisor and were able to register for classes. Then they were served a tailgate-style lunch at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.

The remaining days of orientation this week are booked, with 232 scheduled to be in town for each.

Remaining orientation sessions are scheduled for July 20-23 and Aug. 5-6. Currently, openings remain on July 22-23 and the two dates in August. About 1,900 students have registered so far. Marshall officials are expecting more than 2,000 first-time, full-time freshmen, which would be the largest in school history.



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