Volunteers help new students move into Dowling HallThe excitement always is contagious on our campus over Labor Day weekend, when most of our new and returning students move back to campus after a summer I’m sure most of them feel was too short.

On Saturday, as I walked around meeting parents and students on Move-In Day for freshmen, I was impressed with the organizational effort that it takes to get more than 1,300 first-year students smoothly into the residence halls. There were all manner of pick-up trucks, trailers, station wagons and SUVs jammed with anxious young people and their parents. The traffic flowed along, and our returning students were ready with carts and strong backs to help tote everything inside.

My favorite moment was when one father asked me how to find the nearest hardware store – he needed a new bit for his power drill.

When the heavy lifting was done, a taco bar, bottled water and cookies provided some nutrition.

I wondered when the last time St. Thomas had as few as 1,300 total students, much less freshmen. It turns out that our enrollment was under 1,000 every year from our founding in 1885 until after World War II. When my father came to campus as a freshman in 1929, there were 482 students on campus.

Then came the GI Bill. Only once since the war ended, in 1954, did our enrollment drop below 1,300. We are now more than 11,000, including graduate and law students. I would suspect the eagerness is much the same in students in 2008 as in years past, although there was probably no taco bar in 1885.
Fr. Dease with Mai Nhia Vang, Jane Canney and Tommie

Father Dennis Dease joins student Mai Nhia Vang, Vice President for Student Affairs Jane Canney and Tommie during freshmen move-in day on Aug. 30.

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20 Responses

  1. Mary Jane Doran, Overland Park, Kansas

    Thanks to everyone at UST for making move-in day for our freshman son very easy. UST is a wonderful community!

  2. Lisa Totten (Sullivan), Sarasota, Florida

    The photos swept away 29 years — how much things change yet how much they stay the same. I hope this year’s class will look back on their UST experience as fondly as I do.

  3. Scott Swanson, Saint Paul

    I was very nervous about how the move-in was going to go–with the Republican Convention in town, and the effort to consolidate the move-in to one day, I thought we’d be lined up for a mile, waiting to get into the dorms. I was pleasantly shocked when it took all of about 30 minutes to get my son unpacked, into Brady, set up, and say our tearful goodbyes (and we only live 4 blocks away). Wonderful job, UST.

  4. Tom Sunde, Arlington, Texas

    Wow, what a trip! Forty years ago this week I, too, moved into Ireland Hall. I was scared to death. Sounds like things have changed to help incoming freshman with the transition from high school to college. Brings back memories. Good job!
    Tom Sunde

  5. Janet Litchke-Lint, Grand Rapids, MN.

    This is my 3rd child in college and I have never experienced such an organized effort and great help on Move-In Day. My son has a broken hand and was greeted by many people for help. I appreciate this greatly!! Thank you!

  6. Paul Flannery Weslaco, TX

    Thanks for “The Scroll”. As a member of “the old guard” it is nice to see that St. Thomas still cares about its students with some TLC on move in day. I’m sure the parents were happy to see that St.Thomas cares.

  7. Tim Trusk, Kansas City

    Move In Day. I will never forget my own back in 1977. The flood of feelings that day were awesome – from the excitement of the adventure ahead, to the rush of the feeling of freedom, to the sadness watching my parents drive off (knowing this was IT – it was up to ME from here on out).
    Wonderful memories, and to think it was only day 1 of 4 great years!

  8. Ed O'Brien, Eau Claire, WI., '69'er.

    Good job in setting up The Scroll. I don’t believe the CDC 160A Computer(?) on campus in the 1960s supported any such applications. Some of us who came through those first QM classes from the Math. Dept. are still active in the Information Processing Industry. St. Thomas College/University definitely did many things correctly – and Hopefully is continuing this tradition.
    Best Wishes, Enjoy,

  9. Mary McCormack, Fish Creek WI

    Thanks for the trip down Happy Memory Lane!
    I had such marvelous years at St. Thomas!

  10. Jill, Mpls

    Kudos to UST. As my son packed his belongings to return to UST for his sophomore year, he commented that this is the first time in his life he was happy summer was ending so that he could return to school. He had a wonderful freshman year and was very happy to return to UST. As a parent, I found it comforting to hear how happy he is at UST.

  11. John L Connolly, DDS

    Last Sunday, my son Coleman and I went to the State Fair. After, we sat in the car for a half hour talking outside the Ireland Hall dorm. He said he knew nobody at St Thomas. I was surprised! We are from Carlton County, pop 32,000, 15 minutes drive west of Duluth. He grew up on a forested 40 acres, two miles west of Carlton village, the county seat; pop some 822 people. I know he will build a circle of friends. I spent 7 years on the UST campus, 1962-1969. I know he will do well there. UST has a great campus and it is a world-class experience.

  12. James Heaney, UST-SP

    Hooray for blogs! Hooray for virtually unknown administrators talking to everyone else! I’m very pleased by the release of The Scroll. Thanks, admins.
    On-topic: gratz to the freshman class and welcome to UST. Good luck with your first full week of classes!

  13. Stella Herzig Davenport IA

    A heartfelt thanks for the great help on move-in day! My son is on the fourth floor of Ireland and, boy, are those stairs neverending!! I am SO happy my son chose St Thomas!!

  14. Jan Olafsson, Minneapolis

    I think The Scroll is a marvelous idea. Thank you to everyone who had anything to do with its inception.

  15. S. Klein

    We, too, were delighted with the generous help and lunch. Above and beyond, compared to our experience with other colleges. A heartfelt THANKS.

  16. Cheryl L, Woodbury

    The enthusiasm and smiles the Father Dease Move-In crew greeted our family with made the move-in process a stress free and fun experience. And what great RA’s greeted us at the JPII dorm! When we left our daughter that day, we felt she made the perfect decision choosing UST. Thanks to everyone involved!

  17. Carla T, Shoreview

    I would like to thank the Father Dease Move-In crews for their help in moving the freshmen in to their dorms. What a great way to make a first impression on new students and parents! We really appreciated their assistance on a hot day in getting those boxes up the many stairs to the room. Please pass on our thanks to everyone who was there that day and offered their help.

  18. Sheri, St. Paul, MN

    I have been through a few moves in days with other children, but this was the most organized I have ever seen. Thank you.

  19. Christa and Mike Byrnes

    We would like to express our gratitude to the staff and upper classman of UST. Our son moved into Ireland Hall on Saturday and we were greated with enthusiasm, warm wishes and help! This is our first child to go to college and we couldn’t think of a better place for him to go. My daughter was posted on the yard with all of the bags and she had more than 5 people ask if she needed help! Only at St. Thomas :)
    Thank you


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