For the first time since March of 2020, Marymount University has officially returned to a fully in-person, face-to-face learning and living model, as the entire student body is back on campus for Fall 2021 Welcome Week and the beginning of fall semester classes.
On Thursday, about 240 new students arrived on Move-In Day and were celebrated as new members of the Marymount family, as an estimated 60 volunteers consisting of Marymount faculty, staff, students and alumni were on hand to assist these first-year Saints. Approximately 175 returning students moved into their residential living spaces on Saturday, joining new students as well as student athletes and student leaders who had already returned to on-campus living.
“I’m looking forward to meeting new people, seeing the new class coming in and helping them transition to a new school and a new environment,” said community assistant Ray Teagle, a junior at Marymount who was interviewed by WDVM-TV on Move-In Day.
Fall semester classes got their start on Monday, with all traditional courses meeting in person once again. During the last academic year, the University had operated through a hybrid format that included both in-person and remote course delivery options.
In light of CDC guidelines, everyone on campus is required to wear a mask while indoors. The University is also implementing a policy requiring the COVID-19 vaccine for all students, staff and faculty. Marymount’s Student Health Services (SHS) now offers the Pfizer vaccine for students as well as employees by appointment, while the Office of Human Resources is teaming up with Giant Pharmacy to offer the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on September 14-15 for Marymount employees.
Fall 2021 Welcome Week, which lasts from August 26 to September 6, includes programming designed to help new students actively engage in the Marymount community. The most notable event was Thursday’s Convocation in the Rose Benté Lee Center, a longstanding tradition held to celebrate the new academic year and mark the transition of Saints formally becoming a part of the University family.
“This day represents the beginning of a new chapter in your lives – one that will be filled with change, challenges and growth,” said Dr. Irma Becerra, President of Marymount University, to the Convocation audience. “Where you spend your college years has a great impact on the person you become. You made the smart choice by selecting Marymount as your institution of higher education.”
“Your college journey takes place between two ceremonies. It starts with Convocation, and ends with Graduation,” added Dr. Hesham El-Rewini, Provost and Senior Vice President at Marymount. “So, I’m asking students – please close your eyes and imagine yourself wearing your graduation robes and waiting to receive your diploma. Do you see it? Do you see the end? Do you like what you see? So, work hard to get there. It’s important that you see the end when we begin.”
Welcome Week featured the Honors Student Orientation & Induction Ceremony as well, which welcomed 41 new inductees into Marymount’s Honors Program – a diverse, academically gifted intellectual community. The University’s Nursing program also began the semester with a Pledge Ceremony, in which the new class of Nursing students begins its academic and professional journey in the nursing profession by pledging to provide the highest quality care and to always act with compassion.
Saints from across the University also gathered together on Friday for SaintsServe, an annual event organized by the Saints Center for Service to promote Marymount’s core value of service to others. In partnership with Rise Against Hunger, 65 student volunteers gave back to the less fortunate and packed 20,000 meals to provide hunger relief to underdeveloped areas globally as well as crisis relief to populations in immediate need.
“One of the things that ties us together the most as a University community is our dedication to service,” President Becerra said. “When you volunteer and participate in service learning projects, you help benefit society as a whole – as well as yourself, aiding your personal and professional development. Engaging in service as a student at Marymount is one of the most important things you can do here.”