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Friday, August 24, 2012

A New Year Begins: Penn State DuBois Welcomes New Students

A New Year Begins: Penn State DuBois Welcomes New Students

DuBOIS – "If you were to write a book about your life, what would you call this new chapter that you're just beginning?" Chancellor Anita McDonald asked the 231 new incoming freshmen and their parents, who filled the bleachers in the Penn State DuBois gymnasium during the annual convocation ceremony and New Student Orientation Day on Thursday.

"The beginning of the rest of my life," came an inspiring reply from one voice in the crowd.

McDonald went on to explain how the response from that student was quite accurate.

"Attending a university is like no other experience," she said. "You'll have opportunities to participate in research with faculty, pursue your own interests, and meet new people from around the world. You'll have opportunities to travel, and to use your own abilities to help others."

Penn State DuBois' new freshman class is made up of students from nearly 100 different high schools in 5 states, and 32 counties in Pennsylvania, as well as 2 different provinces in China. Approximately 40 of those students are returning adult learners who have decided to further their education or pursue a new career.

"We have diversity on our campus, not just in ethnic background, but in hometowns, economic backgrounds, and life experiences. Getting to know this diverse group of people will enrich your experience here and enrich your life," McDonald said.

Student Government Association President Holly Kiesling then took to the podium to encourage freshmen to immerse themselves in the diverse campus culture by getting involved. She said, "Don't just go to class and then go home. Get involved. Meet new people, make new friends, and join one of more than 20 clubs on campus. You'll enjoy your experience so much more, and learn more in the process."

McDonald drove home the importance of life-long learning, and pointed to reasons that education should remain a top priority in everyone's life. McDonald said," Some critics today say a college education is not a necessity. I say some form of education after high school is important for everybody. We as a country will not stay competitive globally without an educated society.

"I commend you and your family for making the choice to attend one of the best institutions in the country. We will need you to lead us into the future, and you'll do that armed with a Penn State degree."

Among the new students at orientation was Dakota Ott, an occupational therapy major from St. Marys. The prospect of earning that Penn State degree at DuBois in a diverse, yet comfortable setting is something that she is happy to take advantage of.

"This is close to home, so I can live at home and save a lot of money," Ott said. "Plus, the class sizes are smaller here, and I like that because you can get a better understanding, it's better teaching, and it's more hands-on."

Jake Wilson, of Reynoldsville, first came to the campus as a high school student. He participated in a dual enrollment program that allowed him to earn college credits while still in high school. It got the business major off to a quick start in higher education, and afforded him the chance to learn the ropes of campus life early on. Wilson said, "I liked the dual enrollment program a lot. I have half of a semester's classes done already. I want to find a good job and stay in the area, so this is a good start."

During the remainder of Orientation Day on Thursday, freshmen participated in ice-breaking and team building exercises, met faculty and staff members over a picnic lunch, and became familiar with classrooms and other campus facilities before the beginning of classes on Monday, August 27. As part of orientation, students also participate in the Annual Community Outreach Day held on the Friday before the start of class. Community Outreach Day places students in volunteer positions at area businesses and charitable organizations throughout DuBois and the surrounding area. Students complete a variety of service projects, doing their part to give back to the 

 Photo: Chancellor Anita McDonald welcomes new students during her convocation address in the campus gymnasium.

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