We're moving!

We're moving our new stories to Denison.edu, the college's super-sweet mothership. Over time, we'll be moving some of our best past stories from TheDEN over there too. In the meantime, we've made available an archive of all stories here. This archive will be available for a few months before this site is permanently shut down. See you at Denison.edu! - June 2016

‘There is no midlife crisis going on here!’

When students from the Class of 2015 showed up at Denison for the first of five sessions of June Orientation (or “June-O” as its known on campus), they probably didn’t expect to be part of a 40th birthday party. “We had a big cake for the first session,” says Matt Kretchmar, associate professor of computer science and the current dean of first-year students. “Our staff all came up front after dinner and led us through a rousing rendition of ‘Happy Birthday.'”

For the past four decades, June-O has been a tool that “turns the abstract into the concrete,” says Kretchmar. It’s when incoming students take the first steps in managing their college career. They schedule their classes, meet with professors, as well as with the current students and alumni who serve on the June-O staff. They also get to meet their classmates. “They will stroll across our quads and through our buildings, not as prospective students on a visit,” says Kretchmar, “but as real Denisonians.”

Kretchmar admits that some families find the timing of the June-O program “peculiar,” since most schools hold orientation programs in August (Denison has one of those, too). But holding a two-day program so soon after high school graduation is very purposeful. Students, he believes, spend more time preparing for college throughout the summer if they see, early on, what the next four years might entail. “We want them to stop thinking of themselves as high school graduates and immediately envision themselves as Denison first-years.”

Even if some think the timing is strange, more and more schools are mimicking Denison’s approach. “It is amazing to think we have been doing this for more than four decades while they are just getting started,” says Kretchmar. “There’s no midlife crisis going on here! We are excited to turn 40 and are looking forward to many more years of excellent service. I think we do it better than anyone else in the country and have yet to find someone who can prove me wrong.”

Now that June-O is over, the First Year Program will enjoy a little bit of downtime, but not for long. Kretchmar and his team have already begun to prepare for the Class of ’15 to return for “Aug-O” in the days leading up to the start of the fall semester. (Watch TheDEN for more on that.)

But for now, here’s a look at some June-O scenes from the Class of ’15’s first days as Denisonians…

Categories: On Campus, Sights & Sounds
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