Contact: Brittney Dabney, Office of Communications, Public Relations and Marketing
The “Golden Tiger Experience” — Tuskegee University’s annual new-student orientation program — welcomed the university’s newest freshmen and transfer students from August 16 to 21. Coordinated by the Office of Student Life, the five-day program engaged, excited and welcomed its new students to the Tuskegee family.
The program began on Thursday, with the university’s focus on getting its new students moved into their dorms and settled in on campus. This included a general session for students and parents, where new-student orientation leaders led school chants and line dances regularly performed by students at multiple on-campus events. In addition, the audience gained valuable information and received advice from university leaders about campus life.
“It’s been quiet on the Tuskegee University campus, but now that you’re here, you are who we’ve been waiting for,” said President Lily D. McNair.
Welcome back activities kicked-off with numerous traditions and events, such as the President’s Meet-and-Greet, Student Government Association dodgeball game, a semi-formal ball, Cinema on the Lawn, and a tea given by Miss Tuskegee University, Alexis Landrum.
“This week has helped me transition into being a college student. I’ve had a chance to connect with many members of my class, learn my way around campus, get to know some of the administrators and figure out my class schedule,” said Devin Howard, a freshman from Auburn, Alabama.
Dean of Student Life Abena Myers-Taylor said this year’s orientation week was all about enlightening students about common student pitfalls and how to avoid them.
“It’s important for our students to learn about the ‘dos and don’ts’ of university life — and because of that, we filled the week with several panel discussions given by alumni who shared their perspectives on the importance of securing the Tuskegee brand, insight on how that is done, and tangible resources that are available to them as Tuskegee students,” she said.
T-shirts and signs easily identified many students who were part of multi-generational Tuskegee families. Freshman sales and marketing major Taslyn Ware said she chose Tuskegee because of her parents’ legacy.
“We are a third-generation family, and though I’m from Delaware¬¬, Tuskegee is all that I’ve known because of my family. I’ve had aunts, uncles and cousins attend, so it naturally felt right when choosing Tuskegee,” explained Ware. “I wanted to keep our family tradition going strong.”
An important ceremony that marks the beginning of every Tuskegee student’s campus experience is the annual Rites of Passage Ceremony. The ceremony has become a favorite for new students because they receive an official university pin, light the unity candle and take the pledge to become a “True Tuskegee Gentleman and Woman.”
Tammy Boyd, a 1996 Tuskegee University graduate, challenged students during her Rites of Passage address. Boyd was among the group of “hidden figures” responsible for the opening of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.
“You are our future, and the world is counting on you to develop your talents while at Tuskegee University,” she said. “We want you to put them to use once you graduate, because we know you will go forward to do great things.”
To wrap up the “Golden Tiger Experience,” President Lily D. McNair gave her president’s address on Tuesday, during which she offered words of wisdom and advice to all incoming students.
“We’re bonded forever. We came to Tuskegee together and I look forward to getting to know you and hearing your stories,” she said. “At Tuskegee, we have incredible faculty who are leaders in their fields, in instruction and in research. Get to know them and benefit from their knowledge.”
The remaining activities during the week consisted programs educating students about the university’s legacy, academia, and campus grounds.
Contributing to this news story was the Student Government Association’s Simone Amos.
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