Piedmont College freshmen gathered in the Chapel on Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017, for a Convocation service to officially mark the start of the college’s 120th year.
President James F. Mellichamp welcomed the 291 students in the new Class of 2021, which represents a 21 percent increase over last year. It is the fourth year in a row the college has broken its freshman class enrollment record, he said. Total enrollment of undergraduate and graduate students at both the Demorest and Athens campuses stands at 2,361, up from 2,266 last year.
Dean of Admissions Cindy Peterson noted that this year’s freshman class is academically strong as well. With an average high school GPA of 3.47, some 42 percent of the new students enter with Dual Enrollment and AP credits, she said. Peterson said the new students hail from 14 different states and as far away as Sweden.
The Convocation speaker was the Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, who serves as president and professor of systematic theology and preaching at Ecumenical Theological Seminary in Detroit, Michigan. Murray told the students that “College rarely is a time to become more calcified and entrenched in who we are. Instead it is a time in which we are exposed to a more full panorama of human experience then we had known before. You cannot help but be shaped and changed and transformed by the relationships that build and the experiences inside the classroom and outside the classroom that provide real anchor points that define who you are and what you will become.”