By DAVID DUPONT
BG Independent News
The first-year students in the College of Education and Human Development at Bowling Green State University rang in the new academic year Friday in what Dean Dawn Shinew hopes will be the beginning of a new tradition.
The students gathered around noon Friday outside the Little Red Schoolhouse. One by one they rang the old school bell outside.
When they graduate they will return and ring the bell again. “We wanted to create a new tradition,” Shinew said.
The one-room schoolhouse, which was originally built in Huron County, was moved to campus at the instigation of then Dean David Elssas in 1974.
“It’s at the center of campus,” Shinew said, “because this is what we should be about.”
It seemed fitting to have students in the College of Education start the year here.
This represents the history of the university, said Hannah Coursey, one of the first year students participating in the bell ringing.
Anthony Vellucci, from Mansfield, also participated in the ceremony. He said the ringing of the bell was a fitting wayto begin and then round out his college career.
While four years seems like a long time, he knows the four years of high school went by quickly, and he expects his college career will as well.
The good reputation of BGSU’s programs attracted both Vellucci and Coursey to the school.
BGSU is known for the quality of its education programs, said Coursey, who comes from Cincinnati.
Her goal is to teach high school Chinese. Her class was the first in Cincinnati to have the opportunity to study the language. She expects the demand to learn Chinese will grow in the coming years.
Vellucci is a sports managements major. The college is part of the Sports Management Alliance, which brings professionals to the field to campus and helps students arrange internships.
Other schools do not offer that.
The college’s first year class of 741 students is an increase over last year, Shinew said. Human exercise science, middle childhood education are two of the more popular majors as is the only inclusive early childhood major.
BGSU is the only institution in the state that offers that program that allows students to earn dual licensure in special education and early childhood education.
The ceremony was part of a busy week on campus as almost 6,000 students, including more than 3,500 first-year students, moved into residence halls, according to the university.
The Office of Marketing and Communications reports: “The Class of 2021 is BGSU’s most academically prepared group of new students for the fifth consecutive year; this class is trending to have the highest grade-point average in University history at 3.43. In addition, the number of top scholars (those with an ACT score of 27 or higher and a GPA above 3.7) in this freshman class is up by 20 percent over last year.”
First year students come from 23 states, 74 Ohio counties and nearly 200 high schools, and 26 percent are the first members of their families to attend college.