Freshman class at Greenville University termed 'overcomers'
Published: September 03, 2023
Author: Dave Bell
Members of the class of 2027 arrived on the Greenville University campus on Saturday amidst a heat wave, periodic downpours, and an altered orientation schedule due to shifting weather patterns.
It wasn’t anything out of the ordinary for class members, who had weathered the outbreak of COVID-19 in their sophomore year of high school. They’re accustomed to obstacles.
“I call this the ‘overcoming class,’” said Victoria Clark, GU’s chief enrollment officer. “They’ve overcome a variety of adversity in their schools, their athletics, and their families during their high school years. I believe that experience will give them the grit and the tools to overcome the challenges they’ll encounter in college.”
The incoming freshman class of about 290 students – representing 25 states and 28 countries – is among the most diverse in the school’s history, with about 40 percent of the students registered as non-white or international. It also includes a higher percentage of women than in recent years, with a split of 45% female and 55% male. The freshman class boosts the University’s in-person enrollment to just over 800.
The new students participated in a variety of activities on Saturday and Sunday, all designed to introduce them to their classmates and prepare them for the upcoming school year. Headlining the Saturday program was an ivy-planting ceremony, in which students plant a sprig of ivy to signify being grafted into the University community during the next four years. Also included in the weekend schedule were games, musical events, special outdoor meals, and worship services.
President Suzanne Davis introduced herself to the incoming class at a chapel service on Sunday morning. She shared how, as a freshman at GU, she lost a brother to a rare genetic disease. Her spiritual journey from an angry young woman to a growing follower of Christ was made possible by a caring circle of friends and professors at the University over which she now presides. She assured the incoming freshman that such a circle of support still exists at the University.