Walking in Lincoln's footsteps
As part of Orientation, Gettysburg College's newest students participated in the traditional First-Year Walk to hear a reading of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address at the Soldiers' National Cemetery in Gettysburg.
The First-Year Walk looks back to Nov. 19, 1863, when Gettysburg College students, townspeople and Abraham Lincoln processed along Baltimore Street to the National Cemetery site, where the president dedicated the Soldiers' National Cemetery and delivered his Gettysburg Address. Students travel east on Stevens Street, turn right onto Carlisle Street, continue around the square, and travel down Baltimore Street. The walk culminated at the cemetery where Lisa Portmess, a 1972 graduate and professor of philosophy at Gettysburg College, read the Gettysburg Address and presented the class with its flag. Other speakers included Gettysburg Mayor William Troxell and Gettysburg College Interim President Janet Morgan Riggs.
While en route to the cemetery, Orientation group leaders and volunteer facilitators familiarized first-year students with downtown businesses and historic landmarks, such as Thaddeus Stevens Hall, named after the abolitionist congressman and College co-founder who authored the 14th Amendment; the Eisenhower House, where the retired president and College trustee wrote his memoirs; the Wills House, where Lincoln stayed the night before his Address; and the Jennie Wade House, where the battle's only civilian casualty was felled by a stray bullet.
First-year students this year total approximately 723, coming from 37 states and 14 foreign countries. The class of 2012 was drawn from the second largest applicant pool in the College's history. Some 38 percent of applicants were admitted. Total enrollment this year is forecast at approximately 2,600. The first day of classes is Sept. 1.