An influx of roughly 500 students from all over the country arrived at Roanoke College last weekend as part of the school’s reopening plan. On the one hand, it looked like a typical college move-in day. Laundry carts were full of clothes and furniture, resident assistants were available to answer questions and families took plenty of pictures while touring the campus.
Since the unusual is now the new normal, face masks were worn and social distancing guidelines were emphasized. Incoming students were given a welcome bag consisting of Roanoke College masks, hand sanitizer, water bottles and snacks, among other things.
The remaining students will move on campus on August 29 and September 5, respectively. While online lessons began this Thursday, in-person classes will resume on September 19 once all students have gathered.
The average high school GPA of incoming students is over 3.5, and one of six newcomers ranked in the top ten percent of their class. Biology, psychology, business administration and pre-med are the more popular areas of interest.
“We will forever remember this incoming class. They have passed their first college test just by persevering through their unique college selection process,” said Dr. Brenda Poggendorf ’81, vice president for enrollment and dean of admissions and financial aid. “They are courageous with a sense of adventure. We heartily welcome them to the Roanoke College community and look forward to all they bring.”
New Jersey native Bobby Hoye is enrolled in Roanoke’s Honors Program. When the New Jersey Marathon was postponed in April, Hoye decided to run it anyway — and to do it for a cause. He ran 26.2 miles on his home treadmill, raising money for local hospitals and health care workers along the way. He asked people to donate to the Jersey Shore University Medical Center during his run, and raised more than $6,400 for the hospital.
Greenville, Virginia, native Tyler Wilmer plans to run track and cross country at Roanoke College. As a high school student, he battled an eating disorder. Now, he’s looking to major in exercise science and nutrition so he can help others. “If I can ever help someone else so much as an inch and keep them away from the path I took, my mission will be complete,” he said.
Roanoke College’s Class of 2024 represents 30 states, from California to Maine. All students will be tested for COVID-19 before they are allowed to step foot on campus. Officials say the college will continue to do whatever is required to keep its faculty, students and staff safe.
Roanoke College Public Relations Department contributed to this article.