September 30, 2005
On move-in day at Baylor in 1987, an eager young man from San Antonio hit the campus ready to make friends and enjoy his college years to the fullest. Nearly 20 years later, he's still at Baylor, now as interim vice president for student life, and this time in charge of the University's largest entering fall class ever.
Dub Oliver (see Accolade
) admits he tossed and turned for a few nights after being named interim in June. "I kept a notepad on the table by my bed, because I would wake up remembering something I needed to do," he says.
With good reason, too. Numbers at the official 12th class day, Sept. 7, showed Baylor had 3,168 freshmen and 422 transfers. The previous freshman record was 2,938 set in 1998, 230 fewer than this fall. The student life, residence life and provost's offices had to find more rooms, more beds, more dining hall space, more teachers, more sections of first-year classes, more orientation sessions -- and they had to order more slime caps.
But Oliver was nonplussed. He's done move-in day and Welcome Week from every perspective except that of father - which should happen in five more years with his daughter Callie. He served on the WW student staff and as WW adviser for many years.
Oliver said the various departments tackled the challenges of this large entering class with a great spirit. "It's been phenomenal. To me, our work together as a university community on this illustrates the best about Baylor. We came together, worked together, found solutions together because of the students. It's all for the students. We want them to have a great first experience at Baylor."
Although he admits freshmen may not have their "ideal class schedule," i.e., "classes from 10 a.m. to noon and none on Friday," he says everyone has the classes they needed.
Close to 300 faculty and staff helped on move-in day Aug. 18, as well as several churches and student organizations that volunteered. Parking lots closest to the residence halls were closed to provide drop-off zones to keep traffic moving. This year, the teams unpacked cars and toted belongings from "the top down," he says. "We'll use the coolest part of the day and the freshest legs" in the morning to move in students on the top floors of residence halls, he says. "Everybody was pretty tired by 1:30 last year."
In the last quiet week in August before the new class arrived, Oliver reflected on what it felt like to be on this end of the spectrum. "It's kind of like we're a bride getting ready for the wedding," he says. "Have we thought of everything? Did we take care of that? And then the day comes, and it ends in this great celebration."