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College Welcomes Largest Incoming Class

August 17th, 2011

By Sarah Pride. Pictures by Art Cox and Betsy Reich.

CONTACT:  David Halbrook
Patrick Henry College
(540) 441-8722

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College Chancellor and founder Dr. Michael Farris welcomes parents of new students from the class of 2015

Patrick Henry College woke from its comfortable summer routine this week and opened its doors to the hustle and energy of its largest incoming class yet. As of August 11, 108 new students had confirmed their enrollment. While 16 of these will be attending PHC from a distance this year via the Campus @ Home program, the on-campus numbers are bolstered by an additional 11 students who are now transitioning from Campus @ Home to the physical campus.

“The Enrollment Management staff (Admissions and Financial Aid) has done an outstanding job working with prospective students and their parents to recruit one of the best freshman classes PHC has seen,” states Carl Schreiber, PHC’s Executive Vice President, who oversees those departments and several others. He notes that “with enrollment up, all of our service areas have ramped up to accommodate the growth.”

Dorm Changes and Student Fellowship Lounge

In particular, the College over the summer created space to house a possible overflow of male students by converting two of the lounges in Red Hill, the largest male dorm, into dorm rooms. College executive staff filled the need for lounge space by opening a beautiful new Student Fellowship Lounge in the Barbara Hodel Student Life Center. Formerly intended as a board room and VIP conference center, this new room contains a big-screen television and the recreational tables from Red Hill. For the next few years, this area will serve the students, until PHC completes its plans for the remainder of the Hodel Center’s second floor.

“In our minds, students are also VIPs,” PHC President Dr. Graham Walker explains.

Families unpack vehicles and drop off their students

William Kellaris, Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Management, says that “increased personal attention to prospects and applicants, early and substantial financial aid awards, and a greatly enhanced campus visit program were all keys to bringing together” a class of 2015 that is 44 percent larger than last year’s.

“I believe that the Lord brought together a gifted, motivated, mission-driven staff which was then able to connect with a group of students and parents who anticipate that Patrick Henry College will be a ‘perfect fit’ for them,” he states.

New Students

These students include Katie Speer, who arrived at PHC a week early for pre-semester intense soccer practice. Interested in becoming a foreign affairs correspondent overseas since eighth grade, she came to a Prospective Student Day and met Dr. Les Sillars, PHC’s Associate Professor of Journalism and editor of WORLD Magazine’s World Virginia website.

“I knew then I would get the sort of education in journalism that I wanted,” states Speer, who edited her high school paper.

Alyssa Foster, another incoming student interested in political journalism, elaborates that she “liked the primary source aspect of PHC’s curriculum, which allows students to analyze the truth for themselves.” She read stories of PHC Journalism majors who had worked fascinating internships.

For Zak Kirkendall, who hails from Texas, the choice was between PHC and Biola—East or West Coast. He hopes to attend law school one day, and so he appreciated the success PHC has had in placing its graduates in top schools and the College’s strong focus on Jesus. As a Government: Political Theory major, he notes in particular that PHC expresses a “Platonic ideal of dialoguing to truth, rather than being lectured to it.”

As the returning students check in over the rest of this week, Patrick Henry College faces the scholastic year ahead with excited anticipation.

View the gallery of pictures from Orientation 2011 below!