The Kansas Wesleyan University campus is coming back to life this weekend, as nearly 800 students are now back.
While some students, including athletes moved back last week, the rest of the student body is moving in this weekend in preparation of the first day of classes on Tuesday.
According to the school, there’s the 16-year-old home-schooled young man from Salina, whose mom and dad take in foster children, who took summer classes and is entering Kansas Wesleyan University next week as a freshman, studying theater, debate and forensics.
Then there is the 24-year-old freshman woman who, discouraged by her high school grades, spent four weeks this past summer in the Summer Bridge program, earning the highest grade-point average of her small developmental class of seven students.
That program, she says, turned her life around, and now she starts classes at KWU next Tuesday armed with a $6,000 scholarship.
There are five baseball players from Salina area high schools, recruited to play for the Coyotes. And a student from Taiwan who put himself through an intensive English as a Second Language program in his home country, enabling him to pass all required English (and other) tests to earn admission to the American university he wanted to attend.
He will be the first piano studies major to enroll at Kansas Wesleyan University in 20 years.
Then there is the student from Nebraska who did his research on all universities nationwide that have an eSports team – about 50 of them in all – because competitive gaming is what he wants as part of his college experience.
Kansas Wesleyan, in only its third year with an eSports team, came out on the top of his list.
KWU opens its school year this week – classes begin Tuesday, Aug. 21 – with nearly 700 undergraduate and 90 graduate students flooding the central Salina campus.
This year, there are 47 full time members of the faculty, and 44 part-time, or adjunct, instructors who will lead those students on their educational adventure, and help them achieve their goals.
Often, those goals extend beyond classroom education, said President and CEO Dr. Matt Thompson.
He refers to the mantra of the entire campus known as The Power of AND.
“The Power of AND,” he said, “means that we bring to each student more than class work. Our goal is to bring them a holistic experience that encourages growth and preparation for their life goals.”
The strategy, he said, means engaging students in social activities, community service work, connecting with churches and non-profit organizations, and perhaps even a finding job while going to school. It’s a means of helping students with on and off-campus life, which hopefully will serve them well after graduation.
Speaking of jobs: Kansas Wesleyan University recently was named by online ranking website Thrilllist as the number one school in Kansas to attend if you want to find employment after graduation. The ranking was based on information provided by Zippia, a career expert company, using the U.S. Department of Education’s Integrated Post-secondary Education Data System.
KWU’s students know full well the commitment to each individual, said Vice President of Admissions and Advancement Dr. Melanie Overton. It is an important part of their decision to attend the university.
Overton said this time of year, seeing new and returning students scurrying about campus gets the juices flowing for both faculty and staff.
“The level of commitment and excitement from our students is inspirational to see,” Overton said. “And that makes us that much more committed to them, to their education and their future.”
That drive toward success could well be measured by a freshman from Kansas who enrolled at KWU because of the competitive bowling team, another program that is only in its third year.
The young student turned down a full ride bowling scholarship at a much larger Division I school because, Paredes said, “he thought he would have a much better experience at Kansas Wesleyan.”