Saturday, August 18, 2001

Thomas More offers frosh a haven


Cozy campus and welcome events reassure new students

By Sarah Buehrle
Enquirer Contributor

        CRESTVIEW HILLS — Freshmen enrollment has increased 10 percent at Thomas More College, but the school continues to foster an intimate atmosphere.

        Incoming freshmen, accompanied by friends and family, unloaded cars and hauled boxes into the college's three residence halls Friday in preparation for the 2001-02 school year, which begins Tuesday.

        Bob McDermott, director of admissions at the 1,400-student Catholic college, said 315 incoming freshman are expected. For the second straight year, the dormitories are filled to capacity.

STARTING DATES
   • Northern Kentucky University, Monday.
    • Thomas More College, Miami University, Tuesday.    • College of Mount St. Joseph, Art Academy of Cincinnati, Aug. 27.
   • Xavier University, Aug. 28.
   • University of Cincinnati, Sept. 20.
        Mr. McDermott attributed the enrollment boost to the school's new aggressive recruiting system and a new online application process.

        Despite the enrollment increase, Director of College Communications Bob Edwards said Thomas More has a 15-to-1 student-faculty ratio. Many freshmen interviewed upon arrival indicated they chose the college because of the small student body and intimate campus size.

        Jackie Scruggs, from Owen County, said she chose Thomas More because it was close to home and because of its size.

        “I come from a small (high) school and I didn't want to be overwhelmed,” said Ms. Scruggs, 18. “Staying on campus is a big change for me. I would go to camps when I was little and call my mom to come get me.”

        The college's new president, E. Joseph Lee II, and the director of student life, Matthew Webster, are making a greater push to bring students and faculty together through campus activities.

        Freshmen are invited to attend events that will last long past the traditional “welcome week,” including a cookout Friday night and swing dance lessons at the end of August.

        “We'll keep them pretty busy for their first couple of weeks here,” Mr. Edwards said. “A tremendous amount of work has gone into helping them make that transition from high school to college.”

        Mr. Webster said studies showthat building a core group of residents has a positive effect on retention and student satisfaction.

        Assistant Resident Director David Van Meter said that before a student graduates he will recognize about 80 percent of the people he passes when crossing campus.

        “This is not just a place to stay, but a place to live,” Mr. Van Meter said. “We form a network of friends and family, we form a community.”
       



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- Thomas More offers frosh a haven