New Bears Welcomed to Campus
As Tiarrah Small strolled confidently across the Shaw University campus toward Dimple-Newsome Living and Learning Center on August 9, she appeared to be at home. In fact, the 20-year-old Henderson native was among the number of first-time Shaw students that convereged on the downtown Raleigh campus.
Upperclassmen began returning on Sunday, August 13. Classes for the 2017-18 academic year begins Wednesday, August 16.
Students who participated in extracurricular activities including football and band returned to school earlier in August and have settled into their rooms – and into practice for the coming year.
"It's good to see all the freshmen move in for the first time," said Jairuss Whack, 21, a senior from Charlotte majoring in Mass Communications. As a member of Shaw's Platinum Sound Marching Band's Diamond Dance Sensation, Whack was among the students who moved back to campus a week ago to begin practice. "Seeing so many new students is really exciting, and that makes it a fun experience for freshmen and new students, but it’s also fun for upperclassmen."
Move-in Day, which coincides with new-student orientation, also launched the University’s Week of Welcome, or WOW, a week of programs and activities planned for students by students to ensure a successful transition into the new school year. Small figures WOW is a sure-fire way to meet new people, she said, turning to her greatest challenge as a new Shaw student. "The biggest challenge for me will be getting to know a different environment,” said Small, who attended two years at Vance-Granville Community College, and plans to major in Philosophy and Religion. "I’m from the country and now I’m in college in the city – and it’s all a very different environment from community college."
All Shaw students will experience some newness with several renovations, improvements and upgrades either already complete or underway. The library has new carpet and paint; Mass Communications added more space in its editing lab and production room; and the university bookstore has several hundred square-feet of new retail and textbook space. Other planned improvements include upgrades to five laboratory spaces in the Roberts Science Laboratory expected to begin during Winter Break.
The new academic year also brings a change in leadership at Shaw as Dr. Tashni-Ann Dubroy announced her resignation from Shaw to accept an executive position at Howard University in Washington, DC.
Dr. Paulette Dillard, who has served in various capacities at Shaw and, most recently, as Vice President of Academic Affairs, has been named Interim President during a national search for the University’s next leader. Dillard said Shaw leaders "want to maintain the momentum built and promoted under Dr. Dubroy's leadership. Our vision for the university has remained consistent and we will continue to demand excellence from our student body with an eye towards providing a nurturing environment that promotes persistence and completion from our world class faculty."
Priorities include continued ingenuity in research, entrepreneurial advances and institutional activity, as well as “transparent leadership guided by financial best practices, organizational innovation and cultural awareness,” she added. “If we maintain excellence in all of these areas, our trajectory will remain an achievable goal in our quest to be among the nation’s great institutions of higher learning.”
Richmond, Va., native Jzhonae White chose Shaw for three reasons: She wanted to attend an HBCU, she wanted to live in North Carolina and Shaw offered her a scholarship to play soccer, a sport she’s loved since she was 4. "I'm really looking forward to seeing how everything will fall into place; classes, my roommate, soccer practice."
White's mother, Jacqueline White, believes her daughter is ready to succeed on and off the field. And she’s pleased to drop her off at a school that “seems really, really family-oriented." Even so, White said, leaving her middle child and only daughter behind is “bittersweet. But I’m OK. I’m excited for her. She’s always been before her time and, now, this is her time.”
Move-in Day was a smooth experience, said Darius Hargrove, Small’s cousin who works as a college advisor at Webb High School in Granville County and helped her move in to her home-away-from-home. “When it’s about family expanding their horizons, I’m there,” said Hargrove, 25, whose focus is guiding paths to college for students in rural, underrepresented counties. Plus, he said, his own father is a Shaw alumnus who also majored in religious studies. "I’m super excited to be here."