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First-Year Students Get Acquainted with St. Lawrence

CANTON — Even though she has been here a mere few days, Elizabeth Girard ’17 of Gouverneur already has a lasting memory of being a student at St. Lawrence University.

While Elizabeth has a number of interests, one of her greatest passions is music. That is why she decided to join the Gaines College First-Year Program (FYP), which focuses on creativity, community and performance. During one of their orientation exercises, the group sat in a circle and was led by FYP faculty advisors Michael Farley, associate professor of music, and Lawrence Boyette, visiting instructor for academic affairs, in singing the Motown-hit song “My Girl.”

“It already feels like my FYP group is really close and has already formed a special bond,” Elizabeth said. “I really think music brings people together, and I will never forget singing that song together.”

Elizabeth was one of 632 first-year students, otherwise known as the Class of 2017, who officially joined the St. Lawrence University community for the start of classes on Wednesday.

The incoming class represents an accomplished and diverse population of students from 30 states and 24 countries. More than a third of students come from New York State, and nearly 12 percent of the incoming class – 74 students in total – are international students.

Eric Sweetman ’17 came from Woodbine, Md., to attend St. Lawrence and to play on the men’s hockey team. He joined the Reiff College First-Year Program, which focuses on leadership. Eric, whose interests are in business and economics, said he has been surprised by all the support he has received already.

“My faculty advisors have been really helpful getting me registered for classes and prepared for the semester,” he said. “I chose St. Lawrence because it was a small campus and because I can explore different subjects while I’m here.

Elizabeth, whose sister Jenny graduated from St. Lawrence in 2010 and currently works as assistant sports information director, chose St. Lawrence exactly because of her numerous and varied interests, including psychology, communications, English and, of course, music. She believes the liberal arts environment will allow her to express herself without worry.

“I can try all of those different things here, and eventually it will come to me what I want to focus on for a major,” she said. “I have so many thoughts, and I know that my thoughts and ideas won’t be frowned upon here. The professors and people are open-minded and they won’t knock down what I have to say.”

View the video of the 2013 Matriculation Ceremony.