Arguably, the highlight of my time on the 2014 Council of Independent Colleges of Virginia (CICV) campus tour arrived near the end of our journey when we arrived at at beautiful Shenandoah University – and it wasn’t the hot cider or pumpkin brownie that did it (though both were incredibly tasty).
No. At the end of a wonderful tour and time spent eating and talking with students and staff at the institution, the brothers of Phi Mu Alpha (the world’s oldest and largest music fraternity) serenaded our group with an a capella version of the Shenandoah University alma mater and then finished their performance by selecting myself and another counselor on tour to serenade. (On their knees. With their arms outstretched. Looking adorable.)
It was beautifully done and very sweet. Thanks, gentlemen.
The gesture (which I believe some of my counseling colleagues caught on video despite the fading light but that I have not seen) was perfectly in line with the authentic and sincere displays of affection we’d seen all evening from those who love their institution and that made it easy for all of us to fall in love with it as well.
Originally founded as simply a music and theatre conservatory, Shenandoah has since grown and expanded into a full-fledged university that, while it remains true to its performing arts roots, now has something to offer nearly every student. Whether it’s a chance to hone nursing skills in the soon-to-be-dedicated new nursing building (with high tech clinical teaching spaces) or direct entry programs in athletic training, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and pharmacy, students have a lot of opportunities at their fingertips and a wonderfully supportive environment in which to pursue them. (That every student on campus not only knows President Tracy Fitzsimmons personally, but also calls her by her first name should be all you need to know to understand how close-knit the Shenandoah community truly is.)
While equestrian is not one of their offerings (in the conservatory or otherwise), a student whose interests match what’s offered on Shenandoah’s campus shouldn’t automatically rule it out just for that reason. Virginia horse country is but a stone’s throw away and an enterprising student with a love for organization might even cobble together a club team if he or she can find other willing participants on campus.
(Perhaps you can even start by checking with the kind young men of Phi Mu Alpha. Tell them I sent you.)