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Monday, August 24, 2009

In the heart of dear old Emory

They actually sang the alma mater. In tune, right words and everything. Four thousand voices, led by President Jim Wagner and a couple of dozen upperclassmen, marked the Class of 2013's first day at Emory with song.

Saturday, August 22, was freshman move-in and the start of Orientation Week for new students in the Emory College of Arts & Sciences. The morning started with a little bit of cloud cover and a remarkable coolness in the air. Not the typical heat and oppressive humidity of an August morning in Atlanta, but a crisp hint of fall before the day began to warm up. It was appropriate weather for the start of an academic season and very welcomed by the students, families, and staff (including President Wagner and his cabinet) who were hauling boxes into the freshman residence halls.

The Class of 2013 has a lot of mosts associated with it. Most culturally diverse, most geographically diverse, most prepared in terms of academics, etc. On Saturday, what was most evident is that they are young and excited. They looked fresh out of the package, completely lacking that slightly jaded, cooler-than-thou attitude that seems to arise with finishing a semester or two of college.

I worked the Orientation Fair on Saturday and got to watch the crowd change as the day went on. Early in the morning I saw whole families with a student in tow, but as the afternoon wore on I saw many more students come through together. New roommates (and new friends) exploring campus for the first time stopped by the table.

The clusters of students sans families grew larger during the President’s Dinner and Coke Toast that evening. While Mom & Dad desperately tried to get a cell signal on McDonough Field in order to find their newly-minted freshman, the students gladly flocked together through the line for barbecue.

The dinner and Coke Toast marks the Class of 2013's official welcome to Emory and induction to the Emory alumni community of more than 108,000 strong. They were welcomed indeed, by Emory Alumni Board (EAB) President Crystal Edmonson 95C, who led the ceremony, and President Wagner, who reminded them to cherish every moment of the time they spend here. Aluminum bottles clinked, toasts were drunk, and new friends shared a meal and a Coke. Best of all, when the crowd stood to sing the alma mater, everyone sang along.

--Kate Lawlor 01C, director of alumni and student leadership, EAA


  1. As a mom of an incoming freshman, I was so impressed how wonderful and welcoming everyone at Emory was to us. I know my daughter is in good hands. Thank you to all the students and faculty who made the transition a little easier, especially for the parents...

  2. As a Dad, I was especially impressed by the orientation leaders' enthusiastic welcome at the Atlants airport on Friday. Thanks!