August 17, 2014
So who wants to come over for a game of corn hole?
Actually, I do not know what that game consists of, but I hear it is wildly popular.
So we will have to play when the opportunity presents itself.
In case you do not know me, I am Gordon Gee, your president of West Virginia University; self-proclaimed king of the selfie; and overall awesome dude.
Now let us get something straight. I am not Orville Redenbacher. And I am not Lou Holtz, assuming you all are old enough to know who those guys are.
So, welcome to your new home. You are the Class of 2018. It is great to see all of your smiling faces and I want to congratulate you on making it this far.
This is just the beginning, you know.
Your decision to continue your life’s journey at West Virginia University is one of the best you could make — I promise you. You are going to love this University, if you do not already.
And you will also come to love this city, our home, Morgantown. Named one of best small cities in America, it has so much to offer — from outdoor activities to unique restaurants to great cultural events.
I have always said that a university cannot be great without a great city, and vice versa. We have a wonderful partnership with the city and I know that you will do your part in sharing and showing the pride we have for Morgantown. And leading that pride is Mayor Jenny Selin, who is with us today. Please help me welcome her.
So you may or may not know that I have a fondness for Top 10 lists. To continue a tradition I am sure you’ll see more of in the coming years, I would now like to present my “Top 10 Pieces of Advice for Your Freshman Year:”
Number 10: Be thrifty with your finances.
Do not spend all of your financial aid money on pepperoni rolls and ice cream. Though that does sound delicious.
Number 9: Utilize our online DegreeWorks program to track your progress toward graduation. You should graduate before I have great-great-grandchildren.
By the way, I have the most darling twin granddaughters. When you see me on campus, stop me and I’ll show you a picture or two.
Number 8: Spend time getting to know everyone from your neighbors to your suite-mates…to your professors to your classmates.
They could end up being your closest friends not only for the next four years, but for life. Also, you might need them if you lock yourself out of your dorm room.
And remember that we are a family here at West Virginia University. We take care of each other. We watch out for each other.
Number 7: Stay active.
I work out every morning at the Rec Center, and you should try to get there as much as you can. We also have a fantastic outdoor program, many trails to run or ride bikes on, and state parks nearby. Do yourself a favor and keep that Freshman 15 off.
Number 6: Follow me on Instagram, because I take the best selfies.
Number 5: Feel free to walk up to folks at random and introduce yourself.
We are one of the friendliest campuses around. A stranger may end up being your future BFF — or your future wife or husband.
Number 4: Take advantage of the events on campus.
For example, I hope I see you at FallFest tomorrow. I will be there getting to know as many students as I can and perhaps we can start a mosh pit.
Be sure to take in a football game or a soccer match … or a prominent speaker at our Festival of Ideas series … or join a club or organization. The opportunities are endless.
Number 3: Leave at least 30 minutes to get from the Evansdale and downtown campuses.
You will find out why eventually.
Number 2: Take chances. Do not be afraid.
The brilliance of West Virginia University is that you can make a mistake every now and then and still find yourself, earn a degree and start a career. You will not fulfill your duties as a college student without expanding your boundaries.
And … the Number 1 piece of advice I have for you is ...
It is important to stay true to yourself. Life will be much easier if you do that.
Before you know it, you will be here in four years — and I will shake your hand and give you your diploma.
In between that time, make yourself at home, work and study hard, and have fun! I look forward to seeing you over the next four years. Let’s GOOOO Mountaineeers!