Julie Ramsey - Vice President for College Life and Dean of Students

Welcome families, friends and most importantly, members of the class of 2017.  We are so excited to welcome you to our community. 

This ceremony introduces you to our hopes and expectations for you.  Each speaker has a particular point of view on what we hope for you - and what we expect of you - during your 4 years at Gettysburg, which will be among the best years of your life! 

My hope for you, as Dean of Students - is that you become an active and engaged member of our community.  And I want to emphasize that you are now part of a community that extends beyond the college borders.

The Gettysburg community encompasses the neighborhood, the town, the historic park, and Adams County.

This community has much to offer you.

First, there is the history. The history of one of the most important events in American history surrounds you here.  All of that history is at your fingertips.  We hope you will spend some time on the battlefield and the Visitors Center to get better acquainted with this chapter of American history.  Of course, this is a particularly powerful time to do that , as this is the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg and the Gettysburg Address.  This November’s Dedication Day ceremony should be especially important. 

Even if you are not a history buff,  we hope you will enjoy the beauty and outlets for recreation and reflection:

  • Wonderful sunsets
  • Paths for Walking, jogging, biking in the park which surrounds the campus on 2 sides.
  • Our own Majestic theater in town for movies and live performances of all kinds.
    • Offers special discounted tickets for live performances
    • Free movie nights  for students

Also opportunities to get engaged with social issues.

  • This may seem like an idyllic small town. But like any small town in America, there are social issues that need your attention, your passion and your energy:
    • food insecurity,
    • homelessness and poverty,
    • children who are having enormous difficulty learning in school,
    • immigrants who face discrimination and bias in our community.

The Center for Public Service provides a way to engage with these issues in real time.  Think of this as a way to enhance your education while you try to make a positive difference in the world. 

  • Study immigration issues and translate legal documents for immigrant families . 
  • Study education-- and tutor children after school .
  • Learn about income disparities-- and help develop programs for families living in poverty.

We hope you will participate in opportunities for social justice offered through the Center for Public Service.

We hope you will take advantage of what the community offers you—opportunities for learning and relaxation beyond the campus proper.

Now a quick word about expectations:

I mentioned that the campus is surrounded on 2 sides by battlefields.  On the other 2 sides, we are surrounded by residential neighborhoods, where real people live—people and take pride in their homes and neighborhoods. 

Those neighborhoods are filled with folks who

  • care about their property,
  • who need to walk their dogs,  get their kids up in the morning to catch the school bus, and still and get to work by 8.
  • people who need a good night’s sleep.

All of which brings me to a clear expectation:  Take care as you move around the surrounding neighborhoods.  Treat our neighbors with respect. As you  move around at night , simple courtesy will make a big difference :

  • Give some thought to parking, trash, and noise
  • Keep your voices down, esp at night
  • Show respect for private property.

Though it may seem like you are in a “bubble,” you are not.

So to close, our hope that you will get out into the community:

  • as a place for learning both about our national history -- and contemporary social issues.
  • as a place for personal renewal, recreation and reflection

Our expectation:  that you will show our neighbors here the same courtesy and respect you would as the neighbors at home where you've grown up.