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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

OPINION: Men’s Basketball just won’t back down
Abigail Taylor, Contributing writer • February 27, 2024

Class of 2016 on classes, culture and community

From left to right – Carlyn Fralick, Jennifer Karl, Maddie Dunkle, Ansley Pair, Annie Jones, Tori McDonald, Meredith Ginn, Christine Henricks, Taylor Till and Maria Kapousidis smile on the first day of their last year at Wofford.
From left to right – Carlyn Fralick, Jennifer Karl, Maddie Dunkle, Ansley Pair, Annie Jones, Tori McDonald, Meredith Ginn, Christine Henricks, Taylor Till and Maria Kapousidis smile on the first day of their last year at Wofford.

By: Anna Aguillard, Senior Writer

The Class of 2016 has seen a lot in its four years at Wofford. It has witnessed the retirement of President Bernie Dunlap and the inauguration of President Nayef Samhat as the College’s eleventh president; it has survived the demolition of Fraternity Row and welcomed the blueprints of three major construction projects on campus; it has withstood the tragedies that shook the entire campus, and it has celebrated many uplifting victories. It has seen the end of some beloved traditions and paved the way for many new ones to come.

However, over the past four years, one thing about Wofford certainly has not changed for the Class of 2016: a sincere love for the community and an appreciation for the tight bond shared across the whole campus.

“I had high expectations coming to Wofford four years ago,” said Catherine Watson.

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Both of Watson’s parents attended college in Spartanburg and still play active roles in the Wofford community.

“I anticipated the chance to participate in a close-knit, active and welcoming college community—and that is exactly what happened,” said Watson. “My expectations were unquestionably met.”

Like Watson, Fitz Ellerbe came into Wofford with similar expectations.

“Both my brother and my sister came here before me, so I had a pretty good feeling about what to expect of the Wofford community. I expected the chance to be able to find a tight knit group of friends, but also, to be able to interact with the community outside that group of friends, since we would all be so closely working together on this small campus,” said Ellerbe.

Ellerbe candidly admitted that while, in his opinion, the social life at Wofford has “gone downhill” – perhaps due to the demolition of the Row and the end of Boys’ Bid Day celebration – since his brother and sister attended, he still feels that the community has lived up to his expectations.

“After four years, I would say, yes, my expectations have been met for the Wofford community. I feel that I have close friends in all different places and groups at Wofford, not just those that I interact with on a daily basis,” said Ellerbe.

According to Billy Moody, who served as Wofford’s Student Body President from 2015-2016, one of the most integral factors contributing to the community’s strength is Wofford’s on-campus housing.

“Living with my classmates for four years had led to me knowing many of them and building many excellent friendships,” said Moody.

And for some, it is the professors that contribute to the close-knit community. Shelby Nelson, who transferred to Wofford from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland to pursue a career in dentistry in 2014, said that the campus community manifests in the faculty and staff.

“I feel a strong community anytime I have a conversation with a professor. Every professor I have worked with over the past two years has shown encouragement and dedication to making me a better individual, both academically and professionally,” said Nelson.

Additionally, many seniors recognized that the unexpected and difficult challenges actually are the defining moments that fostered and strengthened the class’s strong bond.

“There have been some tough situations in the past year at Wofford,” said Ellerbe. “The students, faculty and staff showed a lot of support in these times even when they may not have had a direct connection or relationship with the people affected.”

“Though it was a very tragic and sad time, the candlelight vigil that students came together for after West’s passing was extremely moving and emotional. You could really feel the closeness and the family-like nature of the Wofford community,” said Moody.

To Watson, these losses have demonstrated the “resilience and faith” of the class of 2016. She sums up her four years in one powerful sentence: “The camaraderie of the Wofford community is rivaled only by the intense loyalty that every student, faculty and alumni inherently develop during their time here.”

As the Class of 2016’s final days approach, there are still many more memories to be made.

 

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