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Emory & Henry College

Emory & Henry College (visited 11/4/16)

eh-quad-1This is the only college I know of that has a “retirement home” for horses – and the only I’ve heard of that enable students to earn a semester’s worth of work for through-hiking the Appalachian Trail (or another of similar scope).

eh-barn-1

The Equestrian Center barn

When E&H bought Virginia Intermont University in 2014, they took over their barn and equestrian program. One student rider we spoke to told us, “I’m glad they bought it because I wouldn’t have achieved this success without it.” About 50 horses live at the Equestrian Center, 16 miles from the main campus (3 shuttles a day run back and forth). All the horses are donated, including “some famous ones” like a horse from the Beijing Olympics. An alum, concerned about what would happen when they got too old for the 60-ish riders in the Equine Studies program, donated $250,000 for a retirement barn for the older horses. That barn, currently with 5 residents (and room for 6 more per year after this) sits adjacent to the main campus.

eh-studentE&H is another CTCL school that did not disappoint. Students we spoke to – ranging from tour guides to random kids in the café to the singers performing for us over dinner – couldn’t say enough about the school. One said, “People are so nice, it’s almost creepy!” Another one had this to say about academics: “Classes are challenging but not so much that you get down on yourself.”

It’s no wonder kids rave about their classes: E&H has more Virginia Professors of the Year than UVA and VTech combined!

eh-quad-and-chapelAt any CTCL school, I ask students how the institution has changed their lives. Here’s what I got:

  • “I can be myself here.”
  • “The music program is amazing and I’ve learned so much. It’s pushed me well beyond my comfort zone.”
  • “Individual attention I get here is outstanding. I really didn’t expect that from college.”
  • “People are really accepting. We’re not labeled here. We can spend hours in rehearsals or in a practice room. People don’t see that as weird. They just say that we’re hard working.”
  • “We go to a lot of auditions. We met people from schools where the students there didn’t even know each other. Here we do, and we support and help each other all the time.”
eh-statue-henry

The Patrick Henry statue

E&H is named for Patrick Henry (yes, of “Give me liberty or give me death!” fame – also the 1st Governor of Virginia) and John Emory (a Bishop of the Methodist Church); statues of the 2 men stand prominently in the middle of campus facing each other (and will often get dressed up

eh-statue-emory

The John Emory statue

by students for special occasions). A third statue of Ephraim Wiley (the longest standing college president) sits on top of one of the main buildings. This statue and the Chapel are the same height to show Wiley’s belief of their equal importance in the students’ education. E&H is associated with the Methodist church, and students must take 1 religion course. However, that’s where the religious requirements end.

There are a few academic programs worth highlighting:

  • eh-tech-workshop

    The theater tech workshop

    The music and theater programs are great, with BFAs offered in Acting, Directing, Musical Theater, and Production & Design. They put on 4-6 productions a year. They were putting on Rocky Horror Picture Show right after we visited (including a midnight performance!), so the students performed several numbers for us during dinner. There are several scholarship for music based on audition. The Chorale competes internationally (they went to South Africa last year). Students tend to get involved cross-disciplines (ie, the marching band Drum Major is in chorale).

  • eh-art-displayThe Art program is developing a Museum Studies Track. Students curate shows from the college’s permanent collection. They bring in visiting artists who give talks to the students (the community is invited as well). When we visited, the art on display in the main gallery was fresh from Renwick Gallery (Smithsonian). 30-35 students from all disciplines including EnviSci helped to install it. The insects are all real, mostly from SE Asia and the Pacific Rim. The exhibit is meant to make a positive out of negative; the Skull symbolizes what could happen and the eye is meant to represent the Evil Eye.
  • Lyceum Program: students must attend a certain number of lectures and cultural events. All arts count towards this.
  • Along with standard majors, they offer unique programs like Civil Innovation; Politics, Law, and International Relations; and a 5-year, BA/MA program in Community and Organizational Leadership. Students can build their own major if they choose to do so.
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The Hermesian Literary Society room

Something unique are the debate rooms set aside for the 2 main Literary Societies/Debate clubs on campus. The Hermesian Literary Society (Lincoln-Douglass style debating) was founded when the school was founded; it stopped for awhile and was restarted 4 years ago; students interested in joining must take part in an introductory debate in which they can decide the topic. The Calliopean Room is across the hall; they debate in Parliamentary Style. There’s a friendly rivalry between them, and they’ll have intersocietal debates.

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One of the new dorm buildings

Most freshmen and 80% of all students live on campus. Two new apartment-style dorms have been built recently, both having about 250 beds. About 35% of the students join one of the 15 Greek organizations. While there’s no Greek Housing, members can choose to live together on a floor (although the college limits the number of students from any particular organization who can live on a single floor). This used to be a dry campus but that’s been rescinded, although a clear alcohol policy remains in effect.

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One of the outdoor riding areas

This has been named a Best Small School for Outdoor Activities. The Outdoor Program is well utilized by students. They’re located near the 2 highest peaks in Virginia, and they have a 9-hole golf course on campus. One of the most amazing programs is the Semester A.T.rail which lets students hike the length of the Appalachian Trail for a semester. They plan their program with the Director, but Nature Writing (an English Course) is required of all hikers.

eh-chapelStudents admit that there’s not much going on in the town of Emory, but “There’s a good farmer’s market in town.” On campus, however, there’s plenty to do. Football brings out big crowds. Homecoming is a big deal; lots of alumni come back for it. Tailgating becomes a networking event in addition to just being fun.

© 2016

Adrian College

Adrian College (visited 1/31/15)

~Adrian mall

The “mall”

I had high hopes for Adrian; I had heard the name and knew the basics so I was curious to find out more. I was a little concerned about the retention rate; unfortunately my visit didn’t entirely alleviate my fears in that realm. However, I really liked the students I spoke to, the people in the admission office, and the campus. Athletes, B to B+ students, and students who will get involved and who want small classes will thrive at Adrian.

~Adrian 1~Adrian auditoriumMy tour guide was surprised at how much he loved Adrian. “I really had wanted to go to Notre Dame but didn’t get in. I got into Michigan, had put down my deposit, had a roommate picked out – but then came back here to visit. I changed my mind that day and deposited.” His parents both went to Adrian and were thrilled that he chose to go – and he got a legacy scholarship which helps! People he knows who have left did so for a variety of reasons: some wanted to be closer to home, one joined the army, some thought college wasn’t for them. A lot of football players were recruited from Florida and hated the winters in Michigan.

~Adrian mural

Mural outside the Student Center

fabric samples for Interior Design students

fabric samples for Interior Design students

The campus is nice, even in the middle of winter. Every year, they hold a Creativity Awards contest. The winner gets $10,000 to improve campus. So far winners included a large mural outside the student center, bike racks/bike share, International Walkway with things written in multiple languages, etc. “During the year, there’s something like 1000 flower baskets,” said the tour guide. “I wish you could see it then. All the art on campus is student-created. They have an extensive art program with a dance studio, photo labs, pre-architecture, and Interior Design. One studio has 90 styles of lighting for the architecture students! Music is also big here, and the city of Adrian has a symphony that uses the college’s theater.

Adrian Thinker

The Thinker in front of the Theater

~Adrian stud centr 2

The new student center; study boxes are on the upper left

The oldest building on campus, once a stop on the Underground Railroad, is a three-story stone building now used as the theatre. They do a great job refurbishing buildings for updated purposes. The student center is the old gym. They spectator boxes are now study boxes that are open 24/7. The Salon in the basement advertises “nails, hair, and tanning.” The Starbucks in the first floor takes flex bucks.

About 20% of the students go Greek. “There are a lot of Greeks in Admissions. They tend to be most involved in campus life. They love the school.”

Adrian baseball practice

Baseball practice

Almost 2/3 of the students are athletes and there’s a lot of support for the teams. There was a cheer competition in the gym as we went through around 10am on a Saturday. Several girls had pulled exercise bikes over outside the glass doors to watch as they worked out. Adrian’s hockey rink is the only one in the area, so community teams use it as well. A Community Team was using it that morning. 200 Adrian students play hockey on one of 6 teams (4 men, 2 women). They have DI club teams for both men and women; varsity is DIII. They also have synchronized skating and figure skating. Hope is the big rival. They’re quadrupling the size of the weight room (it’s currently tiny).

~Adrian quad

Quad and the library

A popular study area in the Science Building

A popular study area in the Science Building

The tour guide’s largest class was 30 in his Intro to Sociology class. Smallest were 6 (Freshman Writing) and 3 (upper level Econ). “They’re getting rid of the Econ major, so I’m taking a lot of upper level classes and individucal studies so I can finish before they phase it out.” He took Kitchen Chemistry – they did a lot of baking to experiment with how different things influenced the outcome; they ate an fruit that blocked most taste receptors and ate different foods before and after to test this; worked with yeast, etc. He loved his Movies and Culture class in which they discussed social aspects of films starting back in the 30s.

~Adrian dorms

The convenience store on campus with dorms in the background

There are lots of housing options. The freshman dorms are traditional style and old. “I think they’re the same buildings my parents lived in when they were here.” However, after first year, students can live in dorms, apartments, one of 24 theme houses (which can be as small as 4 students), themed houses, fraternities, etc. There are also plenty of flexible meal options. One style is Block Style (students get a certain number of swipes per semester which can be used back-to-back if they want to swipe in a guest). Another style is the 14- or 18-meal-per-week (which can be used once every 4 hours). “The quality of the food is fine but it gets boring.”

~Adrian chapel interior

Chapel

This started as a Methodist school but is now loosely affiliated at best. My tour guide was a Methodist and will go downtown to services; Catholic students often go over to Siena Heights University which is a few miles down the road. There’s a non-denominational service on Wednesdays in which a religion student will give the sermon. Students can bring lunch to chapel.

~Adrian music wing

The music wing: offices and practice rooms.

Their Accounting and Business program is strong with 11 concentrations to choose from including Event & Facilities Management, Health Care Management, Sports Management, and Fashion Merchandising. The Director of Entrepreneurship brought Dominos and Little Ceasars pizza to Israel before he started to teach. Criminal Justice, Social Work, and Art History are also worth noting.

The college offers several Internal Masters (open only to Adrian students). Several students will use the Athletic Training and Industrial Chemistry Masters as a gateway to Med School. 98% of students get placed in med schools or in to the health field upon graduation.

(c) 2015

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