Welcome Class of 2016!


You are about to embark on your own Akron Experience! We hope your years here will be successful as you pursue your degree, make friends and discover new interests. To help you on this journey, three members of the campus community — Dr. Carolyn Behrman, Jim Tressel and Dr. Zachery Williams have some advice to offer, based on their own experiences as students and educators.

Build your own education — the effort is worth it

By Dr. Carolyn Behrman, associate professor of anthropology and UA’s 2011 Outstanding Teacher award recipient 

I went to a small college that shared many attributes with our Honors College. My first paper freshman year was for an English class. The professor was charismatic and I hoped to impress him. When he returned my essay there was more ink from his red pen than my typing. My grade? D. I was horrified.

Dr. Carolyn Behrman

When I read his comments, I was torn between a sinking sense of misery because I could see what he meant about my "naiveté," and anger with his dismissive attitude toward my ideas. Misery won. I felt crushed and incompetent. I made an appointment with the dean. 

"Clearly, I don't belong here," I said after he'd looked over the paper. I was an inner-city, public school kid surrounded by students from rich suburban and private schools. Perhaps I was simply unprepared for college. The dean leaned forward and looked me in the eye. "Did you complete high school?" I nodded. "Take the standardized tests? Complete the application process?" I nodded twice. "Well, unless you are suggesting that our admissions office does not know how to do its job...." He let that statement trail off. The question, he said, was what to do next. Was I going to fold or build myself an education?

I left his office with choices to make. Short term, I worked on understanding what the professor wanted. I made a big effort to participate in class so that any corrections happened there and not on the essay or test. Longer term, I paid more attention to the things I said, wrote and chose in college. It was the wake-up call I didn't know I needed until it happened.

So, my advice?

Welcome, students!

Whether you are a new or returning student, we here at The University of Akron welcome you, as a new academic year gets under way. As you prepare to settle into your routine of classes and studying, please make time to explore some of the many opportunities you’ll find here on campus. This is a great time to develop new interests, new talents and new friendships.

For freshmen, you can learn the most about UA by making the most of our Week of Welcome activities.

When you’re not in class, the Student Recreation and Wellness Center and the Student Union are great places to spend time with friends.

Get involved! UA has more than 200 student organizations.

Bookmark UAEvents.com. It’s a great place to learn about the many events held on campus each week.

  Remember — you’re a Zip now! Students are admitted free to home games with valid Zip Cards. For schedules and more, visit gozips.com.

All of us here at The University of Akron wish you a happy and successful academic year!

Don’t let your mistakes defeat you. And, even if you think you're already wide awake, shake yourself and wake up more. Now. Build your education with thoughtful choices and real effort. Be awake to people around you; introduce yourself to international students and students from backgrounds different than yours. Be awake to your environment; come to UA with the intention of making it a better place to be intellectually, socially and physically.

Happiness begins when you decide to live your possibilities

By Jim Tressel, vice president of strategic engagement

Jim Tressel

College is more than how you score on an exam or excel in the laboratory. The collegiate experience is a complete and total experience that will help you be who you would like to be and do what you would like to do.

But, never lose sight of the fact that one of the primary reasons you're here is to achieve academically. Keep your focus in the classroom. Think about your academic goals, starting now, and stay concentrated on them. Be punctual and sharp in all of your classes. The world you will enter in 2016 is a competitive one. You must bring you're A-game, your Akron game!

Live your possibilities in every area of your life while you're here. Remember that how you function as a total person in society is important. Take care of yourself mentally and physically; health is one of the greatest gifts we have. Make new friends and build relationships with people on campus. Realize that your spiritual beliefs and ethical values will shape your life. Be smart with your money. Sleep, your food and rest will create energy you need to excel in all areas of your life.

Make the most of your Akron Experience. Be a contributor, an innovator, a creator, a thinker and a difference-maker. I look forward to taking the journey with you. We will do great things together.

Stay focused on your passion to be a true success

By Zachery Williams, associate professor of history

In this 21st century global world, cultivating a critical mind, crafting an innovative outlook, and nurturing a compassionate heart will be essential components of a solid collegiate experience. The world that awaits you upon graduation will feature a complex knowledge economy where competition and cooperation must co-exist to promote peace and global sustainability. The question is: where will you be in that brave new world? Your journey to answer that question begins now.

Dr. Zachery Williams

While one of the best times in your life, your years in college will move at a very fast pace and be incredibly challenging. There are basic tips that are priceless and timeless for navigating them. Study extremely hard. Read voraciously and actively engage the life of the mind, heart and soul. Take care and thought of actions and their consequences. Recognize that character plus competency equals success. Waste no moments; yet possess the courage to be uniquely you. Above all else, stay focused!

Dare to be different. Be a transformative leader on campus, in the classroom and in the community. Make yourself known to administrators, faculty and staff alike. Respect every member of the UA family. Boldly cultivate relationships and friendships with peers from around the world and those of varied experiences, different from your own. For the world you create on this campus will be but a mere microcosm of the world you will enter upon graduation — a world of interdependency.

As you work to make the most of your college years, I suggest you approach each day reflecting on the words of educator and theologian Howard Thurman: “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” 

Welcome to UA!