Sewanee community gathers to hear speeches by campus leaders and enjoy a picnic at “Launching the New Year”

Community members at the annual “Launching the New Year” event. Photo by Matt Hembree (C’20).

By Kendall Stallings
Contributing Writer

The Sewanee community recently gathered at the beginning of the school year in All Saints’ Chapel for the annual “Launching the New Year” event, where several plans and hopes for the upcoming year were discussed by student, seminarian, and administration leaders.

Several campus leaders expressed their aspirations for the new school year, including President of the Order of the Gown Kelsey Arbuckle (C’19), President of the Student Government Association Mac Bouldin (C’19), President of the St. Luke’s Community of the School of Theology Mark Nabors (T’19), and Vice-Chancellor John McCardell.

Arbuckle, as Order of the Gown President, and Bouldin, as President of the Student Government Association, both outlined a number of plans for the upcoming year as well as emphasized the importance of community at Sewanee. Bouldin also talked about the ongoing effort for increased conversation between students and the administration

McCardell took the opportunity to welcome new and returning members of the Sewanee community and thank the University’s staff. In addition to emphasizing the importance of maintaining the University’s values during the coming year, McCardell spoke optimistically, stating, “There are abundant reasons for us to be confident about the year, and years, ahead.”

McCardell specifically discussed various changes and improvements coming to the University. He announced that the University recently received a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for a Southern Studies program and mentioned possibly upgrading the business minor to a business major.

McCardell also talked about the recently adopted Sewanee Pledge that begins with this year’s incoming Class of 2022 and the University’s plans to break ground this month on a new Health and Wellness Commons.

Students at the annual “Launching the New Year” event. Photo by Matt Hembree (C’20).

In addition, a Social Commons is being planned at the site of the Thompson Union, and Carnegie will be undergoing renovations in an effort to reinvigorate the Quad. The offices for Career and Leadership Development, The Babson Center, Civic Engagement will move into Carnegie, while Global Education and the Philosophy department will be moved into new location.

Following the speeches, students, faculty, staff, and other community members gathered outside for a picnic with live music and games. Returning students connected with old friends, and first-year students enjoyed a fun and relaxing evening together. Children also participated in games such as a frozen t-shirt race, boardwalk race, nose dive contest, and fishing for marbles contest.