The College Reporter received the following letter addressed to the class of 2024 to be published from the First-Year Class President. 

Dear Class of 2024,

You’ve heard it from your parents, professors, administrators, and so many others within our tightly-knit support network here at F&M. Now, you’ll hear it from me: I am so proud of this class. I’ve noticed that missing high school graduation, missing prom, missing some last youthful moments with friends — these have a way of changing a person. Instead of bottling up your frustration with our mutual situation, you were able to embrace change. You were able to embrace our opportunity to make the most of a challenging situation. Now, while the majority of us are away physically, I ask you to embrace each other. Reach out to those you know, but also extend a warm and welcoming hand to those you don’t.

You set not only expectations for yourself but expectations for others. You stayed true to the F&M Pledge and rose to this unusual occasion. You have allowed hundreds of sophomore Diplomats to return to campus for the first time in eleven months. You have allowed the College to remain confident in students’ ability to follow precautions and safety guidelines. You have earned our class a highly respectable name and reputation that I anticipate will stay for years to come. Whether or not it’s clear, your sacrifices and diligence are noticed and have set precedents for students at F&M and other colleges worldwide. 

Your Class Cabinet has been hard at work planning our upcoming virtual events for the semester. You will soon receive correspondence from a committee focused solely on class engagement, inquiries, suggestions, and involvement. They are currently creating an easy and effective way to answer questions regarding upcoming events (not limited to class-organized events), student life, academic and mental health resources, and so much more. Another committee is currently at work behind the scenes organizing our virtual spirit weeks by evaluating platforms, incorporating recommendations from the engagement committee, putting to use an allocated budget, and planning all other aspects of this event. 

In collaboration with the College, another committee is working in partnership with the House Dons to finalize a coherent and highly-involved mentor/mentee program to provide further guidance and resources to all interested first-years. This will be an excellent opportunity for first-years to build and foster relationships with other students. First-years will gain valuable wisdom and resources from sophomores — nearly all of whom have spent a semester remotely themselves — and take part in challenging discussions regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion. In addition to these conversations between mentors and mentees, Vice President Gretchel Hathaway and I will lead conversations regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion, geared towards providing first-year students with the awareness needed to retain a friendly and sensible community. We also have other surprises that we will announce at later dates!

Stay safe, Class of 2024. We will all see each other soon.

With humility and care,

Maverick Irwin

President of the Franklin and Marshall Class of 2024