Welcome home!

Welcome home!

With friendship and fanfare, Class of 2021 joins Rowan University

Ioli Ring already feels at home.

“I love the atmosphere here. I love the way Rowan is progressing. I really want to get involved,” said Ring, a member of Rowan University’s Class of 2021.

As she spoke, Ring, a law and justice studies major and aspiring attorney, lounged on her bed in Mullica residence hall. Across the room, Catie McDonnell, a history and secondary education major, was unpacking and deciding where her wall art should go.

Though they attended different high schools—Ring grew up in Flemington and McDonnell is from Egg Harbor Township—they spoke like old friends. They have social media—and a shared love of Rowan—to thank for that.

“We have a Snapchat streak of 105 straight days,” laughed McDonnell. “I love our location here with all the trees outside our window. I came to Rowan because of its excellent education program. And I love that there’s always something to do.”

Most applications in Rowan history

At nearly 2,600 students, the freshman class includes 2,200 residential students. They were chosen for admission from among 14,107 freshman applications—the most in University history. That’s nearly 5,000 more applications than just four years ago, according to Director of Admissions Albert Betts.

Freshmen hail from 18 states and a host of countries. Among them: Nigeria, India, Vietnam, Taiwan, Nepal, Germany, Ghana, China, New Zealand, Serbia and Australia.

During a whirlwind Move-In Weekend, the class was officially welcomed to the University with the help of 1,160 volunteers—from upperclassmen to graduate students to faculty and staff—who lent some muscle and their Rowan proud attitudes to help the University’s newest Profs. Among those who volunteered during Move-In Weekend were 100 freshmen who came to campus a day early to help their own classmates and their families have a smooth, speedy move-in experience.

Throughout the weekend, freshmen moved into Holly Pointe Commons, the 1,415-bed residence hall that opened last fall, as well Mimosa, Willow, Magnolia, Evergreen, Mullica, Oak and Laurel halls. Upperclassmen returned to campus at the Whitney Center, the townhouses, Triad, Chestnut, and the Rowan Boulevard Apartments.

Warm welcome

Altogether, nearly 6,000 students live on campus, according to Richard Jones, Vice President for Student Life/Dean of Students.

Jones kicked off the official welcome party for the freshman class when he led them through campus for the annual President’s Welcome and Picnic. Marching with Student Government Association President Lauren Bitzer and Class of 2021 representative Mark Mosley, Jones and a band of Mummers from the Aqua String Band meandered through campus to the University Green at Bunce Hall.

There, students walked through the University’s welcome gate for the first time en masse. Rowan Provost James Newell noted that while students were invited to the Green for the welcome celebration, they would have to earn their way back in four years, when their Commencement ceremony is held at the same spot—Rowan’s most iconic setting.

“This will be an incredible experience for each one of you,” Newell said.

Distinguished Young Alumnus

During the ceremony, Class of 2008 alumnus Jonathan Guito accepted the University’s Distinguished Young Alumnus Award, presented to a graduate who has provided outstanding and distinguished service to their profession or community. Guito, who earned degrees in biological sciences and journalism from Rowan, is a research fellow in the Viral Special Pathogens Branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Ga. He conducts research on viruses such as Ebola and Marburg.

“You won’t just survive Rowan. You’ll blossom,” Guito told the students. “A multitude of experiences will leave you transformed.”

Passing the Torch of Knowledge

Also during the ceremony, Bitzer passed the Torch of Knowledge, the University’s symbol, to Mosley, an athletic training major from Bridgeton.

“The passing of the torch represents an obligation of sorts,” Jones explained. “It’s your obligation to embrace the knowledge available here at the University and to grow as a person so you can contribute to the greater community.

“That burning flame represents the passion for education you will need to be successful here and beyond—and we hope you pass along that passion to generations to come.”

Bitzer, a junior marketing and management major from Cherry Hill, told the class they were fortunate to join Rowan’s student body.

“Coming to Rowan was a huge decision for you. It also was a great decision,” Bitzer said.

“You’re joining a true community. We look out for each other here at Rowan. We care about one another. And we expect you to make awesome contributions to our University…and to put your own marks on Rowan. Your path to success at Rowan starts today--right here and right now.”