Fall Community Gathering Helps Kick Off Academic Year

Under sunny skies and a cool breeze, hundreds of students, staff, and faculty members came together Friday afternoon on Parrish Beach for the annual Fall Community Gathering.

The celebration marks the start of the new academic year and gives community members a chance to welcome new colleagues to the College and interact with those they may not often encounter.

"I count myself among those fortunate to be a 'first-year' and welcome this chance to meet many of you for the first time," said President Valerie Smith in an email invitation to the campus community.

The celebration kicked off with a welcome from President Smith, who posed for photos with students and staff alike. As the afternoon continued, community members formed circles on the grass to enjoy shared conversation and a barbecue lunch from Dining Services, while student DJs sparked an impromptu dance party.

"The community gathering provided the perfect setting to welcome our new community members, make new connections, enjoy each others company, and appreciate the beauty of our campus," says Dean of Students Liz Braun. "It's so important to have opportunities for students, faculty, and staff to come together in shared experiences and celebration."