Grace Gist ’14 sits next to the statue of Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell as her family looks on, snapping photos. Gist, a native of Skaneateles, N.Y., found herself drawn to the statue the moment she arrived this morning for Orientation. Inscribed across its base is the quotation: “I cannot but congratulate myself on having found at last the right place for my beginning.” The excerpt from an 1847 letter that Blackwell wrote while attending Geneva Medical College (Hobart College’s precursor institution), struck a chord with the incoming first year. “I found myself drawn to the words,” explains Gist. “I felt a connection with them.”
Although Alexander Jundanian ‘14 of Dedham, Mass., may not have heard her words before, his feelings echo Blackwell’s. “This school has so much to offer,” he says. “I know that there is room for me to grow here.”
Members of the Classes of 2014 began the whirlwind day with a handshake from Hobart and William Smith President Mark D. Gearan and his wife Mary Herlihy Gearan, and wound their way through a tent full of information about their alma mater. After signing the matriculation book, students spoke individually with their deans, as well as faculty and staff to learn more about daily activities and student life.
Students came from far and wide, representing 30 states and many countries such as Kenya, China, Pakistan and Germany to make it in time for this morning’s check-in and matriculation. Sam Farkas ’14 arrived last night from his hometown of Chagrin Falls, Ohio. “It was a long drive, but I’m happy to be here,” laughs Farkas.
Ariel Trent ’14 woke up early to make the six hour drive from Brooklyn. “I couldn’t wait to get here,” says an enthusiastic Trent. “I kept thinking about all the people I’m going to meet, and of the classes I’m going to be taking.” Trent plans to major in mathematics, and expressed particular excitement over her first-year seminar called the Human Faces of Mathematics.
David Buran’14 of Cohoes, N.Y., found himself enjoying the experience. “I think just like everyone here, I’m excited but nervous,” says Buran, who was drawn to the Colleges because of his love of football. Buran is the recipient of the James F. ’56 and Cindy L. Caird Endowed Scholarship Fund.
While students continued to arrive, others began to move into residence halls across campus. Orientation mentors assisted families in unloading cars, carrying refrigerators, and finding rooms. Demisa Dikitanan ’14, who plans to study history, couldn’t wait to move into her room in Hirshson House. “I’m looking forward to having my room set up. Once I get settled, I want to start meeting as many new people as I can,” explains Dikitanan.
Orientation activities continue throughout the weekend, led by Orientation Coordinators Chris Bramwell ’11 and Kate Coley ’11, and students and parents will be officially welcomed by President Gearan Friday evening on Stern Lawn.