Seton Hill welcomes new students on move-in day
College move-in day is hardly a painless experience. There are suitcases to unpack and dorm rooms to decorate. There are new campuses to navigate and bleary-eyed goodbyes to friends and family members.
Keeping with tradition, the student athletes of Seton Hill University were on hand Friday to make the move a little easier for new students and their families.
“We're one family, we're not just student athletes,” said Devin Redd, running backs coach for the Seton Hill football team. He supervised the players as they descended upon one jam-packed car after another in the pouring rain, unloading their new classmates' belongings and carrying them into Brownlee Hall, one of two exclusively freshmen dorms on the Seton Hill campus.
Building community was on the minds of many new students during move-in day.
“The most important thing to me is family,” said TJ Kpan, 19, of Peters Township. Kpan, who was born in Liberia and came to the United States as a child, said he will call his adoptive parents every day. He's now a freshman at Seton Hill majoring in business and a member of the football team, and is focusing on fostering a new community of teammates and classmates.
“There's always that person that might be better than you, or might be working harder than you,” Kpan said, explaining that he's excited to see what he can make of the next four years.
“I see my goal as being accomplished here,” he said.
Riley Tate, 18, of Munhall, mentioned that the school's small, tight-knit community was one factor that drew her to Seton Hill. A graduate of Steel Valley High School and music theater major, Tate said that any nervousness she felt about theater auditions was eclipsed by the camaraderie she felt among her classmates.
“Seton Hill seemed a lot more willing to help people learn,” Tate said, adding that she's looking forward to meeting new people.
Small class sizes, strong academic programs and accessible professors were factors that attracted roommates Matthew Shultz, 18, of Butler, and Brady Kesterholt, 18, of Youngsville, to Seton Hill.
Shultz plans to major in forensics, while Kesterholt will be in the physician assistant program.
“There was definitely a feeling of staff and faculty wanting our child to succeed,” Jim Kesterholt, Brady's father, said.
About a quarter of Seton Hill's 430-student freshman class hails from outside of Pennsylvania. This is the largest freshman class in university history.
More than 40 percent of the Class of 2021 is majoring in natural or health science, according to Jennifer Reeger, director of media relations. Business, along with visual and performing arts, are also among the school's most popular majors.
That may not come as a surprise, given that many incoming freshmen are already planning for life after college by choosing majors that will help them find jobs.
“Any job in medicine is always needed,” said Alyssa Ference, 18, of Peters Township. She's in the health science program and will play on the lacrosse team.
Just down the hall, lacrosse teammate Sam Orologio, 18, of Rochester, is enrolled in the five-year physician assistant, or P.A., program.
“The program she's going into—the P.A. program—opens opportunities right out of school,” said Jill Orologio, Sam's mother.
“If she finishes it, I think she'll be in good shape,” Orologio said.
Tommy McChesney, a graduate of Greensburg Salem High School majoring in exercise science, hopes to stay local after graduation and work as a high school football coach. When asked why this is important to him, McChesney — a two-sport athlete on the football and wrestling teams — didn't have to think twice.
“Because I am passionate about this community,” McChesney said.