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Bennett College welcomes the class of 2022 during New Student Orientation Week

Excitement was in the air on Aug. 9 as Bennett College held its opening day of New Student Orientation Week.

Fresh women and transfer students from throughout North Carolina and the country ascended on Bennett, which expects to have a record number of new students this fall.

"Members of the class of 2022, can you believe you're actually in college?" President Dr. Phyllis Worthy Dawkins asked students inside the iconic Annie Merner Pfeiffer Chapel. "Each of you took different paths to get here and most – if not all of you – probably thought this day would never arrive. Well guess what? It has. You're now members of the class of 2022!"

The girls cheered and clapped as they entered the chapel, and they received thunderous applause as they energetically introduced themselves by name, classification, hometown and their leadership positions.

Bennett College is one of the black colleges supported by the Black College Fund which provides financial support to maintain solid, challenging academic programs; strong faculties; and well-equipped facilities.

"I pray each of you is excited to be here, and by the looks on your faces I suspect you are," Dawkins said. "Take advantage of your faculty members and their expertise. Ask questions in class and after class if necessary to ensure you're able to adequately grasp the subject matter. You're here to obtain a first-rate education, so please understand there are no stupid questions. If you need to know something, ask. Also, don't be shy about seeking out staff members who can help you navigate your way around campus. The transition from high school to college can be difficult. You don't have to go it alone."

Dawkins also stressed that she wants the students to work and study hard to ensure they graduate on time in 2022. "I don't want to see you here in 2023," she said to chuckles.

After Dawkins spoke, members of her Leadership Team addressed the students and their parents. Gisele Abron, associate vice president for enrollment management/registrar, talked to the parents about FERPA, or the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Leroy Summers, vice president for business and finance/CFO, provided a facilities update and encouraged students to respond to emails from the business office about their accounts.

Dr. Anne Hayes, senior advisor to the president/associate vice president for administrative services encouraged the new students to be mindful of their surroundings and to always exercise caution when leaving their residence halls – particularly at night. Dr. Dorothy C. Browne, provost and vice president for academic encouraged the students to attend the weekly ACES series and to put away their cell phones during the hour-long presentations.

Dr. Lorraine Acker, associate vice president for student affairs, reminded the young ladies about the importance of attending all of the New Student Orientation Week events. She highlighted a few of them before asking the Bennett College student leaders to address the crowd.

Laurie D. Willis, Bennett College website

One of seven apportioned giving opportunities of The United Methodist Church, the Black College Fund provides financial support to maintain solid, challenging academic programs; strong faculties; and well-equipped facilities at 11 United Methodist-related historically black colleges and universities. Please encourage your leaders and congregations to support the Black College Fund apportionment at 100 percent.

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