Wingate welcomes largest freshman class ever

Aug. 27, 2013 @ 03:32 PM

The largest freshman class in the university’s history moved on to campus Friday. 

Wingate University welcomed 730 new students, freshmen and first-time students, from Union County to Denmark. The new crop represent 23 countries and 25 states. This year, the total student body represents every continent but Antarctica. 

The new students were treated to a welcome week, including a street fair, movies, discussions, parties and other events to welcome new students. Upperclassmen moved onto campus Saturday. At Wingate University, all full-time undergraduate students are required to live on campus. 

Sierra Stubblefield, 18, was unpacking the final things from the van with her mom and dad Friday afternoon. Stubblefield, from Chapel Hill, is the youngest of the three and the last child to go to college. 

Her dad, Pat Stubblefield, said she is the youngest and going to school the farthest away.

“We’ll miss her,” he said. “It’s exciting. We’re excited for her.” 

Both parents said they were very proud of her. 

Sierra Stubblefield intends to study marketing. She said she likes the “homey atmosphere” of the campus and is excited about “meeting all the new people.” 

Richard Kotch and his family drove down from Pittsburgh, Penn. to help his son, Tanner, move in. Tanner Kotch will play for the Wingate lacrosse team. 

Kotch has two boys and Tanner is the youngest of the two, he said moving into a dorm is easier the second time around, as there are no reservations and no surprises. 

He marveled at the campus, calling it “Wingate country club.” 

Most parents said the check-in process went very smoothly that morning and they all moved in with little-to-no difficulty. 

For a lot of freshmen, the most daunting part of moving in is knowing few people and meeting new friends. For Madalyn Santomenna, 18, her roommate is her best friend from high school, so that will not be a challenge. 

Santomenna, from Mooresville, is studying business and chemistry. She said her move-in experience was fun and not as stressful as she had imagined. 

“I’m excited,” she said. “I’m ready for a new chapter. 

Other parents said their children were excited, but nervous. 

Classes began Tuesday and the welcome activities continue through the week, culminating in a Bulldog Day of Caring, since students were moving in during the United Way’s Day of Caring, and a Welcome Back Bash this weekend.