Patrick Henry College
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One-hundred and four students, converging on campus with their families, checked-in as new students Tuesday. The class of 2017 arrived from 34 different states, the majority from perennial recruiting strongholds California, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Texas, Georgia, and North Carolina. Some new students flew in from other countries.
One-hundred and four new students checked in
Floridian Katie Coyne looked at 300 different colleges before deciding she wanted to attend PHC. As she read the mission statement, reviewed the roster of professors, and saw there were less than 400 students, she felt convinced that PHC was where she needed to be.
“I am so grateful to be here,” she said. “God made a way for me to come.”
Elisabeth Wilk and her family spent the last 8 years in Tarnobrzeg, Poland, as missionaries. Wilk always knew she would return to the states after graduating high school, and she chose PHC, in part, because it was close to her father’s family on the east coast. In her short time on campus, she said she’s been blown-away by how friendly everyone has been at PHC, from the staff to the other freshmen and upperclassmen.
At Tuesday evening’s orientation dinner, President Graham Walker welcomed the incoming freshmen and their families at the Barbara Hodel Center gymnasium, discussing the purpose of education and wisdom.
“We want you to be powerful arrows in the Lord’s quiver, powerful soldiers in the Lord’s army,” he said. “You will become diagnosticians of faulty ideas. Every one of you is going to be a person of influence, a leader.”
Dr. Walker welcomes incoming class.
He cited 2 Timothy 1:7, “…God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” He noted the importance of having a sound mind, saying “the purpose of intellectual strength is not pride, but rather to serve your soul.” He believes the more tenaciously a person understands God’s word, the bigger an influence they have. The calling of a Christian, he said, is to point people to the Word of God.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and we want you to have all of it,” Walker said. “Part of it isn’t enough in this confusing age.”
Dr. Michael Farris, PHC’s founder and chancellor, followed Dr. Walker’s talk with stories of PHC students working hard and succeeding in their various jobs. He stressed the importance of having good character – a trait which follows a person longer than a GPA does.
“You have good SAT scores,” he said, addressing the class of 2017. “I hope you get good grades. But ten years after you graduate, nobody will know your GPA, where you went to law school or grad school. What will matter to them is who you are and what you do. That is how you measure success.”
Dr. Farris meets with students and parents.
He reminded new students that college is merely a training ground and is not the end of their lives. Its purpose is to train minds capable of engaging in the battles of this world.
On PHC’s Facebook page, PHC’s Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Management, Bill Kellaris, observed: “104 students were expected, and 104 arrived today. We are thankful for each one of them.”
Freshmen orientation continues through the end of the week, complete with chapel and panel sessions, social media contests, an activities and church fair, campus and library tours, and a special dinner and introduction to each dorm’s resident assistants. Saturday evening concludes orientation with a freshmen talent show and ice cream social. Classes begin Monday, August 19.