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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 focus on one class for credit, 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.

Peer mentors like Meredith MacQueeney ’19 help you learn the ropes. From course registration to finding new hangouts, they’re always around for free advice.

Students paddling the raft they made for the race

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 pipeóthen race it on Boca Ciega Bay.

Ceremony of Lights 2023

Friday, August 11, 2023, 5:30 p.m.
Livestream replay

The annual Ceremony of Lights is an Eckerd tradition that marks the beginning of academic life for every new student.

Students join their Autumn Term faculty mentors and peer mentors in McArthur Physical Education Center. After a formal welcome and reception, and an address from President Jim Annarelli, students affirm the Honor Pledge and then receive the flame from the Lamp of Knowledge by hand-held candle.

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.

Speeches and remarks