Averett Opens another Record-Breaking Academic Year

Posted on August 23rd, 2018 by Cassie Jones

The 2018-19 school year promises to be full of possibilities at Averett University. With the University’s largest entering traditional class on record – 381 students, beating out last year’s record of 371 – a couple new academic programs, some ramped-up co-curricular and athletics programs, and two renovated residence halls with more students living on campus than ever before, there is much to be excited about looking ahead.

New students moved into their residence halls over the weekend, including many in the just-renovated Main and Fugate halls.

Jacob Howe, a freshman aviation major and wrestler who hails from Patrick County, Va., is moving into Main Hall to room with his friend from high school. When asked what he’s most excited about, Howe said, “Doing my own thing for the next four years, and starting my life, really.”

Clarksville, Va. native, Arionna Royster, is an incoming nursing student living in Fugate Hall who already has the mindset needed to flourish academically.

“Being that it’s my first year, I want to take it easy… just schoolwork, studying, being on time, responsibilities.”

She’s also looking forward to being away from home.

“I’m going to get some experiences I’ve never had before, and meet new people,” she said, smiling.

Most returning residential students came back Monday, eager to get their next year of college started.

Senior Taylor Hodges, a biomedical sciences major and softball player, was moving back to campus into the recently upgraded Commons Apartments with the help of her mom.

“I’m excited and ready to graduate,” she said, looking forward to her last year here at Averett. “I’m going to miss the people and the family atmosphere, though. It’s surreal, and has gone by really fast.”

Her mom, Julie, was feeling a bit more sentimental about her daughter’s last year at Averett.

“It is bittersweet,” she said through teary eyes. “She’s moving on with her life and spreading her wings and I’m so proud of her. I’ve seen her grow up a lot…This (Averett) was the best decision that’s she’s ever made. She has flourished beyond what I ever thought she would become. Here, she’s a name and not just a number, and that makes the whole difference.”

On Tuesday, Averett welcomed students and kicked off the academic year with its 160th Opening Convocation ceremony. Here, new students hear from leaders across the University community before a welcome lunch.

“This is always a time of new hope and new energy,” said Averett University President Dr. Tiffany M. Franks, who later delivered a presentation encouraging them to look up from their phones, tablets and other technologies and experience the world around them and pay attention to the people in their lives.

Attendees also heard from Dr. Timothy Fulop, vice president for academic affairs and student success, who presented the Dan Daniel Professorship of History and Political Science to Dr. Andrew Canady, assistant professor of history and Honors Program director. Retiring history professor and department chair, Dr. Jay Hayes, was the first recipient of the professorship and was honored at the ceremony, as well.

Students were challenged from various presenters to get involved.

“There is something here for everyone…be a part from the start,” said Dean of Students Lesley Villarose.

Emily Stanley, senior class president, echoed that sentiment as she encouraged them to get involved and change their lives.

“I’m not the same person today I was four years ago sitting in those seats,” she said to the packed audience.

This year’s traditional entering class is composed of 381 traditional students, including 299 first-time freshmen, 70 transfer students and 12 re-admitted students. They hail from 18 states and 14 countries, including Australia, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Canada, Egypt, England, Finland, Germany, Mali, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Spain and Sweden.

Some of the top majors in which these students have expressed interest are nursing, flight operations and marketing management. Some of the growing co-curricular activities drawing interest this year are esports and the band.

Wednesday marked the first day of classes of the school year.