Class of 2016 move-in day
PRINCESS ANNE, MD – (Aug. 22, 2012) – The first wave of students settled into campus housing today when freshmen moved into the University of Maryland Eastern Shore’s residence halls. One early arrival got unexpected help from the university’s new president.
Dr. Juliette B. Bell assisted Alesha Leonard of Lusby, Md. in moving her belongings into a third-floor room in University Terrace, an all-women’s dormitory on the east side of campus.
Leonard, her parents and two friends from high school left their Calvert County community at 3:30 a.m. Wednesday to make the three-hour trek to Princess Anne. Their pre-dawn sojourn reward: being the first in line – and having Dr. Bell lend a hand unloading her family’s packed vehicle.
“It’s great the president came out to help students,” Leonard said. “I was honored to meet her on the first day."
Seniors, juniors and sophomores move back onto campus beginning Thursday (Aug. 23).
University leaders stagger the opening of residence halls so freshman can get acquainted with each other as well as acclimated to college life without the distraction of returning students being around during their first official day on campus.
Leonard plans to study biology, so she had an instant connection with Dr. Bell, a biochemist by training. Leonard’s career goal is to earn a master’s of science in physician’s assistant studies, a new graduate degree that UMES will begin offering a year from now.
“This is really an exciting day,” Dr. Bell told Leonard, her parents and two friends. “We’re so glad you came to UMES, and I know you’ll do well.”
Leonard chose UMES because the “environment played a huge role. This area is pretty much the same as back home. It’s calm.”
An estimated 1,040-to-1,060 new students – first-time freshmen as well as transfer students – are expected to check in this week and begin classes Monday, Aug. 27.
Tyrone Young, UMES’ admissions and recruitment director, said the Class of 2016 is one of the strongest academically in recent memory. The class’ average high school grade point average tops 3.0 and the group’s average SAT score was 883, or 23 points higher than a year ago.
“We feel really good about our newest Hawks,” Young said.
Meanwhile, on the far side of campus from University Terrace, members of the UMES Residence Life staff at Court Plaza Hall were abuzz about a high-profile adult in their midst.
Among freshman Terrell Jones’ family who accompanied him to campus Wednesday was TV commentator Star Jones. Ms. Jones pitched in by helping organize her nephew’s closet, hang a window curtain and organize a midday trip to Wal-Mart in Fruitland to purchase groceries and other dorm-room necessities.
“I’m just here to support my nephew,” Ms. Jones said.
Terrell Jones, who will study computer science, knew immediately when he visited UMES for the first time that he wanted to attend the university.
“It’s the right size. It not too close to (his Waldorf, Md.) home, and it’s not too far, either,” Terrell Jones said. “Plus, we’re not far from Ocean City.”
“We’re a close family,’ he said. “My aunt has always been very supportive of me.”
Linda Hamilton from Ashburn, Va. was heading to a Delmarva beach after dropping off her daughter at University Terrace. Tagging along was Poppie, the family’s pet Yorkie.
Sapporah Hamilton said she was ready to start college and didn't anticipate any separation anxiety in parting company - at least temporarily - with Poppie.
Asked how she felt about her only child going off to college, Mrs. Hamilton said, “I don’t know yet. Check back with me later tonight.”
It was a sentiment shared by a lot of parents on Freshman Move-in Day 2012.