Hundreds of C-SC students march in unity and tradition

Published: Aug. 18, 2023 at 2:30 AM CDT
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CANTON, Mo. (WGEM) -New Tri-State college students marched together in Canton Thursday in the spirit of tradition.

It was part of Culver-Stockton College’s matriculation for first-year students.

Bagpipers led first-year students in procession to Johnson Hall.

That’s where they were formally welcomed, signing the school’s matriculation book just as many have done before.

“It was so much fun,” first-year student Cheresse Mitchell of Springfield, Illinois said. “I was really freaked out at first, but it was really fun experience.”

Mitchell has visited Culver-Stockton College ever since she was a small child. Her dad is an alumnus, playing football for the college in the late 1970s.

Now Mitchell is continuing his legacy. She plans to play basketball for the Wildcats, after attending basketball camp here during high school.

“I automatically knew this is my home,” Mitchell said. “This has been my home for so long. I knew it was the right choice. I visited other schools, and it just didn’t feel the same.

Even though her dad graduated in the late 70s, Mitchell said there was no pressure.

“He made it very clear like my junior year of high school that I do not have to go here,” she said. “But he was super honored.”

Thursday’s ceremonies looked much different than they did 20 years ago. An EF-2 tornado, the same strength that hit Baring, Missouri earlier this month, tore through Culver’s Fieldhouse after commencement in May 2003, destroying the dome on Culver’s iconic building.

Interim provost and vice president for academic affairs Dr. Kim Gaither was hired by Culver that year to teach finance.

“I felt great pride that day that we were just still open,” Gaither said. “Despite really having many buildings damaged and having a lot of repairs to do. But we never missed a beat.”

Culver’s campus has long been repaired but new challenges exist for higher education everywhere.

“It is a very difficult time,” Gaither said. “We know that the population is declining. We know there are folks who are devaluing the education. It’s a difficult time to recruit students to come to a campus, but we are excited about what we know they can do.”

Gaither has her own back-to-school wisdom for all students heading back to school.

“Have fun,” she said. “The journey is just as important as the destination. You’ll learn so much from all of the people that you work with and meet during the time that you’re on campus. Soak it all up and enjoy every minute. It’s going to inform everything that you do later in your career.”

Culver matriculated 350 new freshman and transfer students on Thursday.

Classes begin on Monday.

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