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.

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 pipe—then race it on Boca Ciega Bay.

Eckerd College Ceremony of Lights on the chapel lawn

Ceremony of Lights 2020

Monday, August 31, 2020, 7:30 p.m.
Fox Pond

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

This year, students joined their Autumn Term faculty mentors and peer mentors on the Chapel lawn and along the water’s edge of Fox Pond in the heart of campus. After a formal welcome and reception, and an address from President Damián J. Fernández, students affirmed the Honor Pledge and then received 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.

Watch a 360 timelapse video from the 2019 ceremony