‘The Best Is Yet to Come’

Ohio Wesleyan Welcomes Class of 2026, New Transfer Students at Convocation Ceremony

By Cole Hatcher

Ohio Wesleyan held its 2022-2023 Convocation ceremony Aug. 18, welcoming new first-year and transfer students to the university. The group represents 34 states and 16 countries. (Videography by Mark Schmitter ’12)

DELAWARE, Ohio – The latest point on her path toward graduation led Ohio Wesleyan University student Sophie Gipson to Northeast Ohio, where she completed a paid summer internship helping a nonprofit organization with lead soil contamination and healthy home projects.

A junior from Dayton, Ohio, Gipson spoke to Ohio Wesleyan’s Class of 2026 and new transfer students during the university’s Aug. 18 Convocation ceremony. The Dayton, Ohio, resident also is president of the Wesleyan Council on Student Affairs, OWU’s student government.

‘The Best Version of Myself’

“Not once did I ever imagine myself pursuing a double major in Politics & Government and Sociology & Anthropology, and I surely never expected to become the president of the student body speaking here today,” Gipson said. “And even though I didn’t plan for any of this to happen, I am so grateful that it did.

“While your involvement and goals may change, and your path won’t stay linear, the system of support you have here at Ohio Wesleyan will always remain constant,” Gipson told OWU’s newest Bishops. “I can speak from experience, as some of my greatest and biggest supporters sit in this space today and have never stopped encouraging me to be the best version of myself, even when I had no idea who she was going to be.”

‘An Accomplished and Fascinating Group’

Laurie Patton, director of admission, officially presented the new class and shared information about the students to help them get acquainted.

“Thirty-one years ago, I sat where you sit for my first day as a student at Ohio Wesleyan,” said Patton, a member of the OWU Class of 1995. “And parents, I also know how you feel. Twice now, I have sat where you are – on the edge of my seat searching for my own children in the sea of new students seated together, hoping to catch a glimpse of them to make sure they were smiling and ‘fitting in’. And I can say from that experience, students and parents, you are going to be fine!

“Here in front of me,” Patton continued, “is an accomplished and fascinating group of young adults, who have made it through a global pandemic, and they’re ready for a great new stage in their life! To help you get to know more about those around you, I thought I would share some information about you – our new transfer students and the members of the Class of 2026.”

Patton said OWU’s new Bishops include students who:

  • Won her school’s “Source of Strength” award.
  • Competed as a three-sport athlete and was named captain of all three.
  • Co-founded a Modern Rocketry Club.
  • Volunteered at a refugee camp.
  • Hosted a radio show on Radio India.
  • Started a nonprofit called “Tees for Toys.”
  • Designs and sews bandanas for dogs and sells them on Instagram and Etsy.
  • Rides a unicycle.
  • Plays on the Irish National Water Polo team.
  • Won a National Creative Writing Competition.
  • Completed an internship at NASA.
  • Works as a cave guide.
  • Earned a gold medal in a national under-19 2x400 swim relay.
  • Spent two years in France at an immersive French Language and International Soccer Academy.
  • Won an international hackathon competition.

‘Many Talents and Aspirations’

Patton also shared geographic, academic, and extracurricular information about OWU’s newest students, including:

  • OWU’s Class of 2026 and new transfer students represent 34 states and 16 countries.
  • 23% are first-generation college students.
  • 66 have at least one family member who attended Ohio Wesleyan. (This year’s class also includes one student who is the third of three brothers to become a Bishop and four of five siblings who are quintuplets!)
  • 15 are valedictorians.
  • 69 are members of the National Honor Society.
  • 15 already have completed study-abroad or exchange experiences.
  • 132 took college courses while in high school through dual enrollment or College Credit Plus.
  • 237 participated in varsity sports, with 110 elected as team captains and 37 earning All-Star, All-State, or All-Region recognition.
  • 61 were involved in theatre, with 10 playing a lead role or serving as a director.
  • 116 were involved in a music group, with 40 participating in marching band.
  • 17 served as the editor of their school newspaper or yearbook.
  • 15 were active in Model UN.
  • 21 achieved the rank of Life or Eagle Scout or earned the Silver or Gold Girl Scout Award.
  • 40 served as president of a high school club.
  • 13 were elected student body or class president.

“You bring many talents and aspirations to Ohio Wesleyan, and our community will be better for your contributions,” Patton said. “And the best is yet to come.”

Shaping the World’s Future

Ohio Wesleyan President Rock Jones, Ph.D., also spoke to the incoming students, welcoming them to a university committed to making a positive difference in the world since 1842.

“What can we say except ‘Wow?’” Jones told the Class of 2026. “What an accomplished group and how fortunate we are today to have you join the Bishop family. …”

“One hundred and eighty years ago classes at Ohio Wesleyan convened for the first time in Elliott Hall,” he said, “and our founders wrote in the charter that an Ohio Wesleyan education was to be designed for the benefit of citizens in general. That is, an education at Ohio Wesleyan is to help shape the lives of our students so that they can shape the lives and the future of our world.”

Provost Karlyn Crowley, Ph.D., also welcomed the group, sharing with them the history of Ohio Wesleyan’s motto, “In lumine tuo videbimus lumen.”

Translated, she said, the Latin phrase means “In Your Light We Shall See the Light.”

“We are calling on you,” Crowley said, “to not just be brave enough to see the light but be brave enough to be it.”

Photos From the Day

Move-In, Bishop Welcome, and Convocation
Move-In, Bishop Welcome, and Convocation
August 16, 2022 | Photos by Lindsay Mauter, Allie Sanzenbacher, Mark Schmitter, and Paul Vernon

Camp Oh-Wooo! (Service and Challenge Camps)
Camp Oh-Wooo! (Service and Challenge Camps)
August 20, 2022 | Photos by Paul Vernon


Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers more than 70 undergraduate majors and competes in 24 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Through its signature program, the OWU Connection, Ohio Wesleyan teaches students to integrate knowledge across disciplines, build a diverse and global perspective, and apply knowledge in real-world settings. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives” and included on the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “Best Colleges” lists. Connect with OWU expert interview sources at owu.edu/experts or learn more at owu.edu.