Nearly 300 Union freshmen begin journey with CIRCLES

Published on
August 30, 2016

Nearly 300 Union freshmen begin journey with CIRCLES Nearly 300 freshmen began their college careers with a ceremony committing to uphold the seven core values of Union College.

For the 12th year in a row, new students were introduced to Union’s values – Celebration, Integrity, Responsibility, Civility, Learning, Engagement and Spirituality, during a medallion ceremony on the historic Barbourville campus. Students commit to uphold Union’s values, while Union faculty, staff, student body and community members vocalize a commitment to help them along that path. The ceremony is held each year, prior to the start of the fall semester, offering new students a lesson in the institution’s history, mission and support network.

Union College President Dr. Marcia Hawkins encouraged the students, assembled in the chapel for the first part of the ceremony, to seize the day, to be kind and to actively participate in the college community.

“We ask our new students to pledge their support to Union’s core values and Union College will pledge our support to the success of our new students,” President Hawkins said. The CIRCLES ceremony has helped Hawkins strengthen Union’s student support service programs and retention rates since becoming Union’s President 2012.

Hawkins followed her speech with the introduction of Rev. Bill Hughes to the student body. Rev. Hughes, Pastor of the First United Methodist Church in Barbourville, was invited to campus to serve as guest speaker during the CIRCLES ceremony. Hughes spoke deeply about Union’s values and how those values are reflective of the student journey not only through college, but throughout life.

“There are courses outside of what you learn in the classroom that are just as important to your education,” Rev. Hughes added. “Remember where your treasure is; for that is where your heart is.”

Prior to the conclusion of the chapel ceremony, Rachel Johnson, Union’s Student Government Association President, led the freshman class in announcing their commitment to CIRCLES and Union College.

“We, the class of 2020, accept our responsibility to preserve the core values represented by CIRCLES; and we affirm that these values will be reflected in all we do and apparent to all who know us,” the student body pledged.

Johnson, Rev. Hughes and President Hawkins were among the delegation of campus members to lead the freshman class out of the chapel to the Legacy Walk in front of Centennial Hall. There, each student was presented with a medallion representing Union’s values and their commitment to their education. In four years, upon graduation, those students will have the opportunity to return the medallion to one member of the campus community who impacted their education – thus coming full circle in their experience.

“You give us your best and strive for excellence everyday and we will do the same for you,” President Hawkins said.