John Baker stopped outside Samford Hall, carrying a large plastic shelf destined for his new dorm room. He was exactly where he wanted to be – at the University of Mobile on move-in day for the start of fall semester 2014.
“It’s such a spirit-filled place, and I truly love being where the spirit of the Lord is,” said the junior transfer student from Addison, AL.
John was among 717 students moving into residence halls on Aug. 15. It’s the largest residential population ever on the UMobile campus; the school added 24 beds over the summer to accommodate the demand for campus housing.
As classes began Monday, Aug. 18, approximately 1,600 students were enrolled. Of those, 275 are freshmen, making this the largest freshman class in the school’s history.
Move-in day kicks off Ram Rush, the university’s slate of events aimed at welcoming students and orienting new students to campus life.
Like most students, John had help moving onto campus. Also carrying boxes to his dorm room was his mother, Sharon Baker.
“He fell in love with the school and said this is where he was going. I know he’ll do good. He’s going to enjoy every bit of it,” she said.
Senior Nick Ousley was among current UMobile students and staff that also helped campus residents unload cars and carry televisions, refrigerators, pillows and lamps into dorm rooms. A resident assistant at Samford Hall, Ousley said what he remembers most about his own move-in day was the welcome he received as he unpacked. Now he’s helping coordinate the same process so students don’t feel so overwhelmed on their first day.
“The most exciting thing for me is I get to meet my classmates for the upcoming year, and I get to meet the dorm-mates I’m going to spend my life with,” Ousley said.
Freshman Derrick Jackson of Childersburg, AL, had help from uncle Robert Walker. They left home about 2:30 a.m. to make the drive to Mobile, AL. Derrick said he had mixed emotions, shifting between being nervous and excited.
“I’m looking forward to the experience of meeting new people,” he said.
The Shell family of Arab, AL got a workout, as parents Sam and Doris walked back and forth between Samford Hall men’s dorm and Karlene Farmer Faulkner women’s residence. That’s because freshman son David was moving in one dorm, while sophomore transfer student Samantha was moving into another.
Sam, recently retired from the Marine Corps, said he was impressed with the coordinated effort that had students moved into residence halls in a few hours. He said he’s also excited about the new stage in life for his son and daughter.
Initially, David chose the University of Mobile when he came on a campus visit. Sister Samantha was along for the visit, and what she saw made her decide to enroll as well. While he is undecided on a major, David said he knows he wants to be involved in ministry. Samantha is studying nursing.