Feature Story

Ohio Wesleyan Welcomes Class of 2019

August 21, 2015 – by Cole Hatcher

New Students Come from 17 Countries, 37 U.S. States and Commonwealths

On Aug. 20, Ohio Wesleyan University welcomed the Class of 2019 during OWU’s 174th Convocation ceremony – the first such celebration held in front of newly renovated Merrick Hall.

Susan Dileno, vice president for enrollment, was among those greeting the students and families in attendance, sharing that OWU’s newest class is the most diverse in University history with students from 17 countries and 37 U.S. states and commonwealths.

“During your time here, may you become more than you already are, and may you enter the outside world with an openness to sharing your talents and gifts with those around you,” Dileno told the assembled students.

And those talents are extensive, Dileno said, noting that:

Academically, the incoming class includes 82 National Honor Society members; nine National Merit Scholarship finalists, semifinalists, or commended students; and 10 class valedictorians.

Athletically, OWU’s Class of 2019 boasts 267 varsity sport participants; 117 captains; and 47 All-Conference, All-State, or All-Region players.

Artistically, the creative class includes 118 ensemble or marching band musicians; 76 theatre performers or directors; and 18 editors of literary magazines newspapers, or yearbooks.

And when it comes to leadership and service, the group includes four Eagle Scouts; four Girl Scout Gold or Silver award winners; 21 student council officers; nine class presidents; and 224 students who have completed volunteer and community service – including one student who traveled to Thailand to work with elephants and one who helped to redecorate rooms for chronically ill children.

In addition, Dileno, said Ohio Wesleyan’s Class of 2019 includes an aerial silk dancer, the founder of a gluten-free baking business, a children’s book illustrator, a software developer, a Bollywood dancer, a competitive kayak racer, a synchronized ice skater, a reality TV show participant, a radio show host, and more.

Also welcoming OWU’s newest Bishops was Jerry Lherisson ’16, president of the Wesleyan Council on Student Affairs.

“What is it that I wish I had been told at Convocation to make my college career more meaningful?” pondered Lherisson, a double-major in politics and government and finance from Randolph, Massachusetts. “[T]he simple advice I have for you today is this: Take the time to get to know the people in this crowd right now. …

“[T]here are so many more things that I could tell you,” he continued. “Prioritize your time, make sure you study, go to your professors for help, take advantage of the travel opportunities. But all of those things, through ebb and flow, you’ll learn. …

“The experience before you will be one that will change you forever,” Lherisson concluded, “and it becomes so much more special to look back at your time with the fellow members of the Class of 2019.”

Following the traditional Convocation ceremony, President Rock Jones and Trustee Kara Trott ’83 helped to rededicate and reopen Merrick Hall, which had been closed for nearly 30 years.

“In every professional role I’ve held, I find myself called upon to be a problem-solver, to challenge the assumptions, and to look at problems from different points of view to inform a logical course of action,” said Trott, founder and CEO of Columbus, Ohio-based Quantum Health, an Inc. “5000 Fastest-Growing Company.”

“In that sense, I find myself drawing upon my liberal arts experience where I first learned to think critically – and that alone has paid huge dividends throughout my professional career and in my interactions outside the workplace,” continued Trott, a double-major in politics and philosophy.

“Behind us are the building blocks of your future – Merrick Hall and The OWU Connection,” Trott concluded. “Here you will learn think critically, communicate effectively, work collaboratively, and succeed.”

Photos from the Day Move-In Day Convocation and Merrick Hall Rededication New Student and Family Picnic Video from the Ceremony