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JMU Welcomes the Class of 2015


James Madison University's Convocation Center was buzzing with excitement this afternoon as more than 4,100 freshmen gathered with their Freshman Orientation Guides at the official kick-off to August Orientation, the University Welcome. 

"Now that you have a moment: take a deep breath, take a look around," said Tisha McCoy-Ntiamoah, director of orientation. Leaning into the microphone and looking at the huge crowd she said, "You are now a J-M-U Duuuuuke." 

The crowd of first-year students cheered wildly, excited to be experiencing what McCoy-Ntiamoah said is a "pivotal moment in their lives." Now that they are moved-in and their families are headed back home, the students are starting the orientation period known at JMU as 1787. Student Orientation Coordinator, senior Courtney Wallace, told the students that JMU orientation was named after the summer of 1787 when James Madison energized the country at a time of transition by writing the U.S. Constitution. 

Dr. Mark Warner, senior vice president for student affairs and university planning, told the Class of 2015 that he shared this experience with them, noting that his JMU orientation was in 1975. Warner challenged the students to think about their journey and their legacy at JMU. He also delivered a strong message about the choices he hopes students make regarding alcohol. 

Warner presented students with a list of things he wants to see them do: "Say 'hi' to the people working to serve you, if you see trash – pick it up, hold doors open for people, care about yourself and other people and leave your imprint on JMU." After explaining each item on the list, he ended with the Mahatma Gandhi quote well-known to these freshmen, "Be the change you want to see in the world." 

Associate Professor of Sociology, Nikitah Imani and Student Government Association President, Pat Watral both energized the students and challenged them to live, learn and excel at JMU. 

At the end of all the speeches the Convocation Center erupted in loud music as the almost 300 Orientation Peer Advisors and FROGS stood up in their seats, ran to the aisles and did the 2011 version of the FROG dance, a tradition at the University Welcome. 

Parker Davis of Salem, Va. and Riley McGhee of Paoli, Pa. described the welcome as "exciting, funny, fun, entertaining and invigorating." "I like that they said 'be open to everything' and that living and learning go together," said McGhee. 

For more information on 1787 August Orientation 

For more information on the Class of 2015

Published: Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Last Updated: Friday, February 16, 2018

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