First Posted: 8/21/2014
WILKES-BARRE — It’s back to school season, and droves of freshmen are starting their college years in the Wyoming Valley this week.
Wilkes University will welcome 575 first-year students for its 82nd academic year, a figure that spokeswoman Vicki Mayk said was down from 606 last year. Of those 575 students, 28 are international students that come from six different countries.
King’s College will welcome 500 students in its 68th year. John McAndrew, spokesman for King’s College, said getting students can be a difficult task.
“Typically, right now, the entire U.S. and especially in Northeast Pennsylvania, there are fewer 18-year-olds available,” he said. McAndrew added that the college also welcomed 500 students last year.”
Enrollment at Luzerne County Community College, however, is up 3 percent from last fall, which includes a 5 percent increase in transfer students. LCCC spokeswoman Lisa Nelson said there are 1,248 new students this year.
First-year students arrived at King’s College on Thursday, which McAndrew said was the beginning of the college’s four-day orientation process. Misericordia University’s class ranks as the second largest in the school’s 90-year history. Paul Krzywicki, spokesman for Misericordia University, said 446 first-year students are in this year’s freshman class, 18 more than last year’s class. Krzywicki said those students come from all over the country — the incoming first-year students even include some from Saudi Arabia.
One of those first-year students was Nicola Spadafora of Middletown, New York. She chose Misericordia University because she heard good things about its nursing program, as well as the small-campus atmosphere.
Micaela Rhone, of Starucca, chose to go to Misericordia University after attending a sleepover at the campus. She’ll be studying in the schools’ Occupational Therapy Program.
A new year
This year will mark the first year that King’s College will be able to use its new building on Public Square.
King’s College announced in December the $16 million project to purchase and renovate the former Ramada Hotel on Public Square. King’s purchased the property at 20 Public Square for $2.7 million.
It is now the home of the college’s physician assistant program and the exercise science and the athletic training programs.
The third, fourth and fifth floors will be mothballed temporarily. The sixth through eighth floors are for student housing.
It will also be a year of firsts for Wilkes University, as it will debut its marching band, the Marching Colonels. Vicki Mayk, spokeswoman for Wilkes University, said it is the first collegiate marching band in Northeast Pennsylvania, and includes a color guard and drum line.
The band will have its debut performance at the first home football game on Sept. 6 against Muhlenberg College in the Lehigh Valley.