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The welcome mat for incoming freshman was rolled out Thursday for students moving into Lourdes University housing.
University President David Livingston, along with about 75 volunteers -- from faculty, alumni, and the Sisters of St. Francis -- assisted the students with moving into their apartments at Lourdes Commons. The housing is located on Parkgate Place, near the Brint and McCord intersection, and is connected to the main campus off of Convent Boulevard in Sylvania by an swath of land the university owns which is undeveloped except for a newly built walkway.
Move-In Day is the start of the university’s Welcome Week that features activities to greet new and returning students. Classes begin Monday.
“This is my favorite day of the year,” Mr. Livingston said. “It’s like the return of spring, all the life comes back to campus. There is potential, you see potential on the parents‘ and child’s face, you see excitement, and some parents do have tears on their face.”
This year, there are 310 students living on campus, 120 new to campus, either fresh from high school or transfer students.
Lourdes plans to release enrollment figures at the end of the month. Mr. Livingston said expects a slight drop from last year’s 2,343 fall enrollment.
“Overall, total student body will be down and we are OK with that,” he said. “We are in a transitional period.”
That includes debuting its mid-campus, the 11 acres which connect the main campus to the housing. The land is to have landscaping, park benches, and ultimately a sports complex.
The mid-campus is a component of the school transitioning from a commuter school to an on-campus university. The university has extended its athletic program, adding five sports teams last year -- men's and women's lacrosse and cross country as well as competitive cheer and dance. Soccer will premiere in fall, 2015. Lourdes also has softball, baseball, and men and women's basketball and volleyball teams.
It is also expanding its academic experiences abroad. The summer Ireland program, which had students and staff spend three weeks in Tullycross, is now offered as a full semester, with Lourdes professors teaching literature, history, and general education classes with an Irish twist.
Provost Geoffrey Grubb said faculty are investigating a spring program in Perugia, Italy. Students can partake in a Franciscan pilgrimage to Assisi over Christmas break.
For incoming freshman Naya Pender, 18, of Mansfield, she chose Lourdes for its intimate environment and apartment-style dorms. She has not selected a major, but will be part of the university basketball team.
For her mom, Marinise Harris, she was happy for the extra moving help and that Naya will be a drive away from home.
“I’m excited for her new journey and nervous because she’s my youngest,” Mrs. Harris said. “I’m happy she decided to stay in Ohio.”
Another plus is the size of Lourdes.
“It’s big enough, but also provides a small family environment. So she won’t get lost in a huge campus environment,” Mrs. Harris said.
Contact Natalie Trusso Cafarello at: 419-206-0356, or firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @natalietrusso.