Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students at Reinhardt University Roger Lee said that the semester started off well and students are settling into their new routines.
“We’re off to a very smooth start and now our campus is alive with full classes and Welcome Week activities through Saturday. Campus spirit activities are kicking off as we focus our excitement for fall sports, including our inaugural year with football,” Lee said. “Our new buildings were completed on schedule, new student orientations sessions were well attended and appreciated, and our beautiful campus is alive with the largest enrollment in the school’s history. As with each new entering class, it is always interesting to meet new students from literally all over the planet.”
Reinhardt University enrollment for this semester surpassed 1,280 Aug. 9, up from 1,232 on the first day of the semester last fall, and is expected to continue to rise this week as last-minute transfer students enroll, said spokeswoman for the university Lauren Thomas.
“I would definitely say we will hit a record enrollment again this year, as we have for the past several years,” Thomas said. “Reinhardt is certainly growing, but what will always remain the same here is the character and spirit of this place.”
Thomas said that of the 542 new students, which includes transfers, freshmen and graduate students, 132, or 24.3 percent, listed Cherokee as their county. Out of all Reinhardt students, about 28.7 percent listed Cherokee as their county of residence.
The university’s first football game is in about two weeks against Mercer University, and Thomas said there is a lot of excitement.
“The game sold out in 27 minutes to a crowd of more than 10,000,” Thomas said. “Our first home game is Sept. 7, against Lindsey Wilson College. We expect a large crowd and welcome tailgating, as long as it follows our on-campus no alcohol policy.”
Dr. Thomas Isherwood, president of Reinhardt University, gave the State Of The University Address on Aug. 12, and said that he is “proud and humbled” to be part of the university.
“Sept. 7 is our first home game and the inaugural outing of the Reinhardt marching band,” Isherwood said. “As I have said before, Waleska will never be the same.”
Isherwood said that last year was “very successful,” and said that finding the new vice president and dean for academic affairs over the summer may have been the “most significant development of last year.”
“Dr. (Mark) Roberts and I have already formed a positive and effective relationship and I look forward to working together,” Isherwood said.
Thomas said that Reinhardt is excited to work with Roberts.
“(He) fills the large shoes of the late Dr. Bob Driscoll, who passed away last spring,” Thomas said. “Dr. Roberts brings a new perspective to his role and we can’t wait to see what his plans are for the academia of Reinhardt.”
Roberts grew up as a self-described “typical middle-class country kid,” and has a rich history in education, from helping mentally disabled students in North Carolina to teaching composition and literature on a deployed U.S. Navy ship, the USS Doyle, in the Persian Gulf during the oil embargo against Iraq.
“I’ve been in higher education for about 16 or 17 years,” Roberts said Friday. “One thing we would like to continue working on (at Reinhardt) is diversifying our offerings in the graduate program. We just started a new graduate program — a master of public administration.”
His most recent position, before coming to Reinhardt, was as the provost and vice president for academic affairs at Virginia Intermont College.
“I think there’s a lot of really great things that happen here academically that most people have no idea occur here, so one of my goals is to try to work with the deans to find ways of engaging the larger community with the things we do here at Reinhardt,” Roberts said.
Roberts said that he realized it was the 130th anniversary since Reinhardt was founded when he was hired over the summer, and said the school has “a deep history.”
“I’m very excited to start here at Reinhardt. I’ve been extremely impressed with the faculty and their expertise and their devotion to student learning, it’s really incredible,” Roberts said. “And the staff is 100 percent devoted to the university and its progress, so it’s a great place to be.”
Reinhardt recently completed its new Science Hall addition and renovation, and Thomas said the new building would “welcome students on the first day of classes.”
“(The Science Hall addition) is gorgeous, and state-of-the-art for our science students,” Thomas said.
During the State of th University Address, Isherwood said that the building is a welcomed addition to campus.
“While the building itself is beautiful and the views from the labs and classrooms are some of the best on campus, the significance of the building is that we now have the equipment and technology necessary for the effective instruction and research in science,” Isherwood said.