Caboni welcomes freshmen home

Resident Assistant Whitney King cheers along with fellow students for being recognized as a resident assistant for North East Hall on Sunday Aug. 13 at J.C Houchens Football Stadium.

Rebekah Alvey

“Welcome home class of 2021,” WKU’s newest president Timothy Caboni said with a smile as he began his address at the opening ceremony for 2017 M.A.S.T.E.R Plan.

The opening ceremony Sunday night was the first official address Caboni has given to students as president. M.A.S.T.E.R Plan gives freshmen an opportunity to become familiar with campus through events and workshops the week before classes start.

In his address, Caboni commented on how exciting it was to feel like a freshman again. Caboni received his masters degree in Organizational and Corporate Communication from WKU in 1994 and said it was “good to be home.”

“We’re going to share a wonderful, wonderful first year together,” Caboni said.

Caboni said in an interview he wanted to make sure incoming students knew what it meant to be a WKU student and create more engagement. During his address, Caboni encouraged students to come out for all campus events such as football and basketball games, theatre performances and forensic team competitions.

Head football coach Mike Sanford and members of the WKU football team also attended the opening ceremony and encouraged students to fill all the seats.

During his address, Caboni addressed the spirit of the university and reinforced the idea of a community within the university. He specifically encouraged male students to “step in” when they see a situation involving unkind behavior.

“As a family we are kind and we take care of one another,” Caboni said. “Look out for each other, keep one another safe.”

Student Government Association President Andi Dahmer encouraged students to visit her directly or any of the other university resources when they need help. In an interview, Dahmer said student retention, recruitment and persistence are her primary goals as SGA president and providing resources for success is essential.

Caboni said while students are officially on their own, he never wants them to feel alone on campus. He said one of his main goals for students is to help them succeed and graduate and his ideas on spirit, unity and engagement play a role in that.

To further engage admitted students, Caboni has been hand delivering acceptance letters to a select students. He said the individual attention can ensure that admitted students enroll at WKU.

During six weeks of hard work while students were away that Caboni was serving as president, he said the campus was “quiet.”

“Tonight it’s amazing as the university crackled back to life,” Caboni said. “It’s a great reminder of why we all work so hard at the end of the day.”

Reporter Rebekah Alvey can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected].