On Saturday, August 20, the campus sprung to life again, when Florida Southern welcomed 850 new students.
Sep 6, 2022
The smells of grilling burgers and cheesy pizza floated on the cross-campus breeze as the Florida Southern College student body returned for the 2022-23 academic year.
More than 850 new students came to Lakeland to become Moccasins, joining the 2,000 returning students to Florida’s oldest private college. New students came from 44 different U.S. states, and 22 foreign countries.
On Saturday, August 20, the campus sprung to life again, with a renewed anticipation. More than 100 events took place during Orientation Weekend, helping the newcomers understand the expectations of being a college student while also helping them to feel at home.
Campus tours, ice cream socials, movie nights, rock climbing opportunities, brought comfort to students and parents alike, as lifelong friendships developed in the blink of an eye. After a summer full of texting back and forth, roommates greeted each other as long-lost friends.
The weekend’s festivities were capped off with Opening Convocation, a long-standing tradition that introduces new students to the College’s faculty, inducting them into the community.
Each year, the Omicron Delta Kappa Teacher of the Year has an opportunity to address families. In her speech, Assistant Professor of Business Administration, Dr. Silviana Falcon, who earned a bachelor's degree from Florida Southern College and is recognized worldwide for her leadership in business education, shared her wisdom from both a student and parent perspective. She encouraged students to “enjoy the best time of their lives … by filling their plates with … anything and everything.” She also told parents to support their students in making the most of their college years by “letting them go … and having faith in the incredible job [they’ve] done.”
Watch the 2022 Opening Convocation, including Dr. Falcon's speech and a special message from current Mocs to their new counterparts.
“Dr. Falcon’s speech was one of the best I’ve ever heard. It was as if she was speaking right to my heart yesterday. Her words brought tears to my eyes, but they also gave me some peace,” noted first-year parents on Facebook.
Every year, an even more talented first-year class comes to the College, bringing a broad range of perspectives and experiences. The second largest class in FSC history, this year's students are no different. Among them are 22 valedictorians and salutatorians and numerous students with perfect scores on sections of the SAT and ACT. Along with excelling in the classroom, the incoming class has demonstrated extraordinary leadership ability, with members earning Eagle Scout rank and recipients of the Girl Scout Gold Award. There are some exceptional athletes, including a karate black belt, a professional international water skier, and 169 Moccasins student-athletes. This class is fully engaged in the world already, including an app designer, a Florida Boys State Press Corps delegate, and a national champion in computer coding.
Class members have demonstrated a commitment to service, earning the prestigious Duke of Edinburgh Award, Presidential Service, and Arts for Life Achievement Awards.
Chase Green from Oak Park, Ill., and Nathan Calvary from Lakeland, met at their department orientation, where they were challenged to get right to it.
"We broke up into teams and got started on developing a concept for a dating app. It was a great way to dig in," said Nathan.
Nathan, whose mom is an alumna, chose Florida Southern because he wanted to stay close to home. He appreciates the small class sizes and is excited to get to know the faculty.
Chase is most excited about the many opportunities FSC offers to get involved.
When asked what is high on his bucket list, Chase responded: "I'm really looking forward to making new friends and taking advantage of the opportunity to travel. I hope to be able to go to Brazil."
Kayla Brunk, from Vero Beach, Fla., hopes to be a director one day. "I really like the small school vibe. I confirmed that I made the right choice when we first pulled in. Everyone has been incredibly friendly."
Her roommate, Trinity Escobedo, is from Auburndale but decided to live on campus. Trinity is majoring in nursing and ultimately hopes to be a clinical psychologist. "I love the hands-on aspect of learning at FSC. I'm excited to dive into clinical work."
While these two roommates are from different states and have selected different career paths, Kaiya Lewis (Jonesboro, Ga.) and Marlee Lancaster (Davidsonville, Md.) are glad to have found each other.
Marlee is majoring in accounting and hopes to take advantage of Florida Southern's Early Master’s in Accounting (MAcc) program. For Kaiya, it was "all the good things" she's heard about FSC's film program.
"I hope to end up in the entertainment industry,” said Kaiya, “whether behind the camera or onstage.”
While an eventual film degree will open up many possibilities, the community is what drew her to Florida Southern.
"Everyone has been super nice and very helpful."
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