CONTACT: David Halbrook
Patrick Henry College
Tuesday's Orientation Dinner
Patrick Henry College’s class of 2018 arrived Tuesday morning, setting the campus abuzz with new students unpacking, attending orientation sessions, and meeting their fellow classmates. The incoming freshman class of 90 students represents more than thirty states, young men and women nervous yet excited to begin their four-year adventure at PHC. It is also a bittersweet time, as students spend their last full day with parents before saying goodbye.
Freshman Elizabeth Bodnovich, from Cleveland, Ohio, said she’s excited to begin her classes, having attended PHC’s Public Speaking teen camp last summer and with designs on attending PHC for many years.
“I wanted a school that teaches you how to think, not what to think,” she said.
She plans on majoring in American Politics and Policy, hopes to work for the Department of Agriculture after graduating, and is confident PHC will give her the tools she needs to both think and speak well.
A nautical theme inspired the annual Tuesday night orientation dinner, as families enjoyed pulled pork sandwiches, baked beans, and corn on the cob at tables accented with decorative ships, flags and anchors.
In his welcoming address, President Graham Walker reminded students that, in their quest for academic success and social acceptance at PHC, they need to genuinely rely on Christ and find their identities in Him.
"Who we are is not determined by what temptations we feel, but in Christ," he said. "Rely on the Lord."
His wife Lindy reassured both students and their parents that “there are many people here praying for you.”
Former PHC student body president, Will Glaser (History, 2008), now an attorney in D.C., shared with students about his time at PHC, his graduation from Pepperdine Law School, and his work today in D.C.’s high pressure legal profession. He encouraged students to enjoy their time at PHC with a spirit of humility, while identifying ways students will be changed by the school.
“You will be challenged by professors and fellow students to think critically and grapple with difficult ideas,” he said. “Your written communication is going to be evaluated, challenged, and improved. You will learn to communicate difficult concepts and think on your feet.”
In reminding students that not only their intellect – but their character, as well – will undergo transformation, he cautioned them that with their newfound freedom to make decisions comes the ability to make bad decisions. Ultimately, he said, students will flourish within PHC’s close-knit Christian community, in which the administration, faculty, staff, as well as one’s fellow students, are deeply committed to helping one another grow.
The College’s founder and chancellor Dr. Michael Farris assured students and their families that, at PHC, “iron sharpens iron.” He urged students to invest in those around them, to sleep well, to exercise and to rest, while encouraging them to maintain a heart of humility in the pursuit of excellence.
“Excellence is about where you want to go,” he said. “Humility is about who you are inside. Pursue excellence. Be humble. And welcome to a place where God is at work!”