MASTER Plan kicks off for Class of 2016

WKU President Gary Ransdell told the class of 2016 they were now part of the “university family.”

Taylor Harrison

The new freshmen class at WKU came in with a lot of energy and a ton of team spirit.

As they filed into Smith Stadium for the MASTER Plan opening ceremony, the incoming class of 2016 chanted in support of their various MASTER plan teams.

Blair Silliman, MASTER Plan program coordinator, welcomed the new students and started the night off with a “roll call” for all of the residence halls.

President Gary Ransdell, Gordon Emslie, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, and Howard Bailey, vice president for Student Affairs, were are in attendance in ceremony.

“It is great to have you here and from this day forward, you are no longer freshmen,” Ransdell said. “You are the members of the Class of 2016.”

Ransdell went on to make a “deal” with the new students that they would graduate. He told the students a little about himself and his wife, Julie, as well as making sure that everyone was acquainted with Big Red — who was also in attendance. He also explained the significance of the red towel.

“This red towel symbolizes a lot more than something that we do at athletic events,” Ransdell said. “This red towel is a symbol of everything that represents our personality as a university.”

Ransdell also emphasized that WKU’s campus is their campus and that they are a part of the university family.

“This is now your home. Take care of it,” he said.

The group also recited the Western Creed for the first time.

Head football coach Willie Taggart came to the ceremony as well, along with the football team. Taggart welcomed the students to the Hill and encouraged everyone to come to every home game this semester, rather than going home on weekends.

“You didn’t come to college to go back home,” Taggart said.

He said that the football team was going to work hard and make no excuses, but that they needed the help of the students to fill the stadium seats.

“We want to make this place a snake pit for anybody who comes here to play us, all right?” Taggart said. “And we need you all to help us with that, all right?”

The students were all presented with their own red towels and sang the fight song.

The new students were also excited to be there.

Chicago freshman Elizabeth Knebel, said she was most excited about the 3OH!3 concert following the ceremony in the stadium.

Knebel chose to come to MASTER Plan to be more prepared.

“I just wanted to be prepared for all my classes,” Knebel said. “I didn’t really know the campus and I wanted to get to know more people.”

She said she chose to come to WKU because of the photojournalism program.

Rachel Jones, another incoming freshman from Florence, said that while she was looking forward to the social events of MASTER Plan, she came to get acquainted with campus before classes start. 

“Just to get more familiar with the campus and more familiar with, like, where my classes are and just the feel for the campus in general,” Jones said.

Silliman emphasized that every student had something unique to contribute to campus.

“You all bring something special to the family,” Silliman said of the new batch of Hilltoppers.