College welcomes largest class in almost a decade during Matriculation ceremony

Matriculation signing the roles

Marietta College’s annual Matriculation ceremony took a little longer than normal this year — about 20 extra minutes.

There were a couple more speakers, but the reason for the extended program was because Marietta welcomed its largest class since 2009 Thursday afternoon in the Dyson Baudo Recreation Center.

“Wow, there is a lot of you out there,” said student speaker Josh Thomas ’20.

This year, the College welcomed 400 new students, including 358 first-time students, 29 transfer students and 13 exchange students. Many of them clapped and sang along with Floodstage, Marietta College’s contemporary a capella ensemble, as they performed Fight Song by Rachel Platten.

The students moved into their new homes earlier in the day and following Matriculation and dinner with their family and friends, attended a block party at freshman housing.

Dr. William N. Ruud, Marietta College’s 19th President, was participating in his third Marietta College Matriculation, and he shared both a humorous and an enlightening story with the students.

“College is a wonderful and challenging transition, but you will get through,” Ruud said. “Yes, you’ll grow. You’ll grow over the next four years, and sometimes — many times — moms and dads, you’ll return to graduation and say, ‘Wow! Who is this wonderful person you have become in the last four years?’ You are at Marietta College and this is a very special place. Work hard your first semester. Work hard your first year. Get involved. Ask for help, when and if you need it, and sometimes when you even don’t need it.”

Four upper-class students go the opportunity to speak with the new students, including Cameron Dowiak ’19. She completed an internship at Yale this summer, and Dowiak shared how she didn’t apply for the internship, but rather an alum asked a professor for recommendations — and she suggested giving Dowiak the internship.

“Cultivate your reputation and personal integrity. You choose how you want your peers and superiors to perceive you,” she said. “The brand of integrity pays off, at least it did for me. … Somebody took a risk with my name on it, and my work in the classroom gave them the confidence that I could perform outside of it as well.”

Tom Farish ’20 also shared his experience of studying abroad at the University of Oslo in Norway for six months, and how he made a startling discovery.

“While my experiences (at the University of Oslo) were exciting and rewarding, I of course became incredibly homesick. I missed my friends, my family and the convenience of American supermarkets. I missed American music, being able to go to the movie theater without checking to see if it was in a language I knew first and being able to legally drive my car,” Farish said. “Once I finally did arrive back home in Cleveland in June, I did everything I had missed when I was gone. I watched the Black Panther movie and the Infinity War movie. I caught up with all of my friends from back home and I went to Walmart at 1 in the morning. But I realized as that summer went on that I still didn’t feel like I was home. I still felt like something wasn’t quite right and after thinking about it for a few days, I reached the conclusion that I was still feeling homesick because I wasn’t home yet. Marietta College is where I set out on my journey, and my journey wouldn’t be complete until I had come back.”

The new students also met the professors who will be their mentors, advisers and teachers for the next four years.

“Class of 2022, you are about to join an institution that has gained recognition over the years of being one of the best liberal arts colleges in the country,” said Dr. Janet Bland, Provost. “Sitting right in front of you are faculty who are among the best teachers in the nation. They view teaching as their intellectual calling in life and that’s why Marietta College chose them.”