Feature Story

‘The Journey of an Education’

August 20, 2017 – by Cole Hatcher

Ohio Wesleyan’s Class of 2021 moved in to their residence halls Aug. 20 to officially begin their four-year OWU journeys. That afternoon, they took part in a convocation ceremony and ‘First Lap.’ (Video by Mark Schmitter ’12)

Ohio Wesleyan Welcomes Class of 2021 

Students from 33 states and 15 countries arrived at Ohio Wesleyan University on Aug. 20, ready to begin their OWU experiences. 

“Never before has it been more important that young people take the journey you begin today – the journey of an education that opens your minds, celebrates diversity, and prepares you to serve the world,” President Rock Jones told the students during an opening convocation ceremony

“These are the founding values of Ohio Wesleyan University,” Jones continued. “They will guide everything we do on this campus and, we hope, everything you will do in the world.” 

Susan Dileno, vice president for enrollment, said the new class of nearly 500 students arrives with an impressive list of accomplishments, noting, for example, that the class includes an apprentice glass blower, a member of the FBI Teen Academy, a carnivorous-plant vendor, the winner of the best junior company in the Netherlands in 2016, the founder of a Silicon Valley finance-tech company, and even a trained falconer. 

The new class also comprises 333 varsity athletes, including 119 team captains, as well as 85 National Honor Society inductees, 10 class valedictorians, seven student body or class presidents, and a National Merit Scholarship semifinalist, Dileno said. 

Geographically, she continued, 53 percent of Ohio Wesleyan’s new U.S. students come from Ohio, with the largest numbers of non-Ohio residents arriving from Florida and California. More than 35 percent of the incoming class is multicultural, with the largest numbers of international students coming from Pakistan, China, and India.

Christopher Dobeck ’18, president of the Wesleyan Council on Student Affairs, also welcomed OWU’s new students during the afternoon convocation ceremony that followed a busy morning of moving into their residence halls.

“Ohio Wesleyan has graduated countless students who have gone on to change the world and, looking out today, I think I can safely say I see a whole new class ready to do exactly the same,” Dobeck told the incoming students.

“It’s up to you to take advantage of OWU’s opportunities,” said Dobeck, a history major and education major from Chagrin Falls. “OWU is exactly what you make it.”

Professor Brad Trees, Ph.D. – himself an Ohio Wesleyan graduate – welcomed the incoming class on behalf of the faculty, and graduate Denise Sabo Brenner, Class of 2000, on behalf of the OWU Alumni Association.

Ohio Wesleyan’s Class of 2021 begin their OWU journeys with a ‘First Lap’ around campus. Four years from now, the classmates will take a ‘Final Lap’ as they prepare for their graduation ceremony. (Photo by Paul Vernon)

After the ceremony, the new students participated in a “First Lap” walk around campus to kick off their OWU journeys. In four years, the Class of 2021 will take a concluding “Final Lap” as they prepare for their graduation.

In closing his convocation remarks, President Jones told the students: “An OWU education is not just about you. It is about the impact you will have on the world and the role you will play in shaping a more just and civil society, envisioning a better future through entrepreneurial activities that bring new ideas to life, and preserving the planet that gives and sustains all of life.

“May the coming years be rich in opportunity, profound in growth, and lasting in influence as you prepare for moral leadership in a global society,” Jones said. “We are proud today to welcome you as Bishops and to look forward to all that is ahead.”

View photos from the move-in and convocation events.