There was a buzz about Olney Avenue. Some students bobbed their heads and danced to music from a nearby speaker array, providing a temporary distraction from the 90° heat and occasional raindrops. Others sipped from chilled bottles of water.
Devin Wadley paused to glance around La Salle University’s North Halls Complex, where fellow residential students—and new Explorers just like him—were unloading cars, piling boxes, and pushing hand trucks. The Ypsilanti, Mich., native couldn’t help but smile.
“This is where I wanted to be,” said Wadley, a social work major. “La Salle is absolutely where I wanted to be.”
Wadley and more than 1,000 new and returning students turned La Salle into their home away from home during Move-In Weekend, from Aug. 27–29.
The moment felt “kind of bittersweet,” said Jared Wadley, Devin’s father, as he carried his son’s 42” flatscreen. “I’m excited to see what the next chapter holds for him.”
Wadley anticipates involvement in La Salle’s volunteer community. He and his father frequently worked with therapy dogs and met with veterans at the local VA hospital near their southeast Michigan home. Wadley has family in Philadelphia—and, according to his mother, Deanna, he has family right on La Salle’s campus, too. The Wadleys even had a quick meet-and-greet with La Salle Interim President, Tim O’Shaughnessy, ’85.
“Any time we reached out, they responded within 24 hours,” she said. “When you’re from as far away as we are, you don’t want to get brushed off by someone. They made you feel like a family here.”
Speaking of family, an impromptu and unexpected family reunion commenced not far from the Wadleys. There, new Explorer Gavin Ferns crossed paths with another first-year student, Laura Bowden. Their relation? Ferns’ grandfather, Brendan, who was assisting with the move-in, is the uncle of Bowden’s late mother, Laurentia. The two groups, which had been unpacking their cars beside one another, stopped for hugs and photos on Olney Avenue.
Elsewhere, Move-In Weekend camaraderie was on full display. Audrey Allen, a first-year biology major from Swedesboro, N.J., had trouble pushing an overloaded move-in cart. In short order, two of her teammates on the women’s rowing team, Winnie Wong and Madison Lisitsin, rushed to her aid.
There were a few alumni on hand, too.
Keita Wells, ’97, said she was overcome with “pride and joy” as she helped her only child, Zuri, a communication major from Baltimore, Md., with his move-in proceedings. “I’m happy to see him choose La Salle, where I went, but he has his own path and he’s ready,” she said.
Closer to 20th Street, freelance filmmaker Joe Polizzi, ’09, carried his camera as the University’s newest students were getting situated. Polizzi returned to campus to interview professor of communication Br. Gerry Molyneaux, FSC, ’58, for an upcoming YouTube series called Connect with Philly. And standing beside Polizzi was his project’s production intern Sophia Conte, a first-year business major who moved onto campus Saturday.
Waiting for a moving cart, Bucks County native Dawn Gramlich took a break under the shade of a nearby tree. Her daughter, Grace, a nursing major, was settling into St. Katherine’s Hall with her roommate, a fellow graduate of Archbishop Ryan. La Salle “made the most sense,” said Dawn of her daughter’s choice, “because the NCLEX pass rate exceeded so many of the other schools in the area and Grace liked the one-on-one support she was receiving here.”
Tae Rutherford, who will study business administration, admitted he will miss home-cooked meals from his mother, Tori, though their home in Radnor, Pa., requires only a short drive. Rutherford, an entrepreneur who designs clothing and sneakers, chose La Salle because “the business classes were easily the most interesting of all the schools I toured.”
“It’s a little bit of anxiety I’m feeling, because I don’t know anybody here,” Rutherford said, “but I’m excited. This is a new beginning. I can’t wait.”
—Christopher A. Vito