Jim Tressel, UA's new vice president for strategic engagement, took his first student-led tour of campus today.
Above, he stands with President Proenza and his guides for the tour (from left): Markel Croston, Matt Garvin, Rana Barghouty and Mallory Kennedy. The four students are New Student Orientation leaders at the University.
The tour lasted nearly two hours, as many students and staff on campus stopped the group to welcome Tressel to campus or to snap a photo.
Tressel begins his full-time duties May 1, but he arrived on campus this week to begin developing relationships with students and co-workers involved in programs and initiatives that promote student success across all aspects of life.
The tour was comprehensive, including the Student Union (from Starbucks to the Union Market to the game room), the Student Recreation and Wellness Center, classroom buildings, dorms, and even a quick inside look at the Polymer Building. The students extended the tour to show Tressel where he once lived as a student many years ago, a location south of Exchange Street.
Said Tressel: “It was so much fun seeing the pride our students have in the university. These bright young people were so informative as well as being extremely patient as I rambled on about the good ol’ days, and how far we have come as a campus. The transformation is unbelievable. Every alum needs to take this tour. Every prospective student and their parents need to take this tour. The University of Akron is special!!”
Equally enthused about being part of Tressel’s first days on campus were the tour guides themselves:
Said Matt Garvin: “Walking around with Jim Tressel today was truly a unique experience. It was incredible to see how knowledgeable he was about some of our programs on campus as well listen to his unique perspective from coming here years ago. Through the whole tour he showed a genuine interest in working with and for the young people going to the university. In talking to him, it’s evident he is really is in this for the good of the students, and to me that's fantastic.”
According to Mallory Kennedy: “One of the best parts of giving him a tour was hearing his comparisons of the university from when he was a student about thirty years ago. You could tell in the way he spoke that Akron has always been a part of him that is near and dear to his heart. I can recall him mentioning that his four years here spent at Akron were some of the best years he has ever had. I enjoyed that he was in agreement with myself and the other students that it isn't the beautiful landscape and buildings that create such a great university, but the people who are a part of it. Lastly, I was really impressed with how Jim Tressel asked us how we think campus and the university could be improved and how he cared about our opinion. Overall, my tour today is something I will never forget.”
From Markel Croston: “A lot of times you think that high profile people are hard to get along with, but Jim was just like another human being. He was super normal. He was super cool. He was awesome! Jim has a personality that attracts people, and brings them in. With or without the fame and money, Jim is a person who everyone should try to be like. He was funny, nice, smart, and just an all around good guy. Just being able to walk campus with him was an amazing feeling, and just an honor. Seeing people come up to him and take photos was weird, but he handled it with such grace.”
From Rana Barghouty: “Showing Jim Tressel around campus was one of the greatest opportunities. He has a great sense of humor, and as we found out a great memory! It was amazing to hear him talk about all the changes the campus has undergone overtime, and to see how impressed he was with its transformation! Great experience overall!”
Thanks to Carly McNutt, assistant director of new student orientation, for setting up this wonderful experience for all those involved in the tour.