3-week Autumn Term orientation

Start things off right

Our “Autumn Term” gives you time to adjust.

Many colleges squeeze their introduction to college life into three or four days. Not us. Our orientation lasts three whole weeks. You take one class, meet other first-year students and learn the ideas and habits you’ll need for the next four years.

The professor who teaches your Autumn Term class will be your mentor throughout your first year. Along with your upperclass Peer Mentor, he or she will guide you through this first important year.

Summer reading

A lot of colleges ask you to read a book before you report to campus. But here, you actually get to meet the author—we’re talking well-known personalities, artists and scientists like New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow or Pulitzer Prize–winning author Sonia Nazario—as part of our speaker series.

Quick view

Kon Tiki

Not all the fun happens in class. The annual Kon Tiki raft race requires you and your team to build a raft out of cardboard, duct tape and PVC pipe—then race it on Boca Ciega Bay.

Peer mentors Margaret Catrambone '18 and Natalia McKay '18

Peer mentors

Every Autumn Term class has an upperclass peer mentor, like Margaret Catrambone ’18 (left) or Natalia McKay ’18. Look to yours for help with time management and free advice.

Ceremony of Lights

Ceremony of Lights 2017

“This Ceremony of Lights expresses through symbolic language and actions the transition that is taking place in your lives at this very moment. Because of your prior achievements, you have reached a personal and educational milestone: You have earned a place in this community of learning.”

-James J. Annarelli, Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students


Welcome and Presentation of the Class
John F. Sullivan, Vice President for Enrollment Management

Reception of New Students
James J. Annarelli, Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students

Address to the Class
Donald R. Eastman III, President

Lighting of the Candles
Responsive Reading – Litany of Commitment
Suzan Harrison, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty

The Reverend Douglas H. McMahon, Director of the Center for Spiritual Life and Chaplain

Friday, August 11, 2017
5:30 p.m.
McArthur Gymnasium
Directions & map
Ceremony of Lights medallion


New students are presented with a medallion emblazoned with the Triton shell. Generations of Eckerd students have received this medallion as a welcome into the company of scholars. It serves as a reminder of the accomplishments that earned students their place in the Eckerd community and as a symbol of hope for all that is to come.