From ‘lambs’ to ‘Rams’

On Saturday, Aug, 20, the incoming class of freshmen at Winston-Salem State University participated in the annual “Through the Archway Ceremony,” which marks the beginning of the college journey. The Ram Walk was part of the ceremony.

From ‘lambs’ to ‘Rams’
August 25
06:05 2016

Photo by Tevin Stinson



Last weekend more than 900 young people from various parts of the state transitioned from “lambs” to “Rams” on the campus of Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) during the “Through the Archway Ceremony.” An annual tradition, the celebration officially marks the beginning of the college journey for incoming freshmen.

The rite of passage also ends Ramdition, a week-long orientation designed help students transition into college life and adulthood. To begin the program, first-year students participated in Ram Walk. a ceremony where students march through the stone archways on campus, erected in 1936 to honor of Oleona Pegram Atkins, the wife of WSSU founder Simon Green Atkins.

While walking behind university officials, faculty and staff, elected officials, and Legacy Leaders (members of SGA), the class of 2020 was filled with joy and excitement.

“It feels good to finally be a Ram,” smiled Naomi Isaac from Charlotte.

She said although she was nervous at first, as soon as she stepped foot on campus she felt right at home. Isaac noted the advice she received from university administrators and upperclassman during Ramdition has fully pre-pared her for the first day of classes, which began on Monday, Aug. 22.

“The support has just been amazing,” she said. “I’ve met some really great people and got some really good advice on what the first year will be like. It feels good to know that the people here really care.”

Donald Vanderhall from Greensboro said, “I’ve been looking forward to this day for a long time, and now that it’s finally here, it feels unreal.”

During the processional, more than 2,000 relatives, friends, loved ones, and even a number of alumni lined the walkways of the yard to welcome the newest edition to the family. While holding a sign honoring the class of 1994, Althea Scott said she felt it was her duty to help welcome the largest group of freshman since 2008.

“I think I may have been the loudest person here,” laughed Scott. “I remember my own ceremony and I just wanted the incoming freshmen to know that they have the full support of the alumni.”

The march ended at the K. R. Williams Auditorium where Chancellor Elwood Robinson and SGA President Mona Zahir and others addressed the sea of students that filled every seat in the bottom portion of the auditorium.

“You are coming to a very special place. A place unlike anything you have ever seen or experienced,” said Robinson. “We welcome you to Winston-Salem State University.”

Robinson said WSSU sits on an amazing platform that is guided by principles laid down by the founder in 1892. He also briefly discussed the new strategic plan adopted earlier this year that is designed to prepare students for a world that doesn’t even exist yet.

“Those principles give us the motivation, strength, and drive to do the work we do here every day,” he continued. “When you leave here you will be designers of a new world order.

“We stand ready to provide each student with an education like none other,” Robinson said.

Next, Zahir talked about the WSSU experience and the importance of taking advantage of all the opportunities that the HBCU has to offer. She said what she loves most about WSSU is that you don’t need a title to be a leader.

“I’m so proud to be a part of a university that allows us to grow and cultivate ourselves in a way that fits us best,” she noted. “All the resources you need to be successful are right here at this school.”

Before leaving the stage, Zahir challenged the freshman class to follow their passion.

“Don’t be afraid of something you can’t see. You guys are the class of 2020 for a reason; take this experience and go beyond the classroom. Find knowledge and intellect in everything that you find.”

When asked about the expectations for the incoming class of freshmen, Provost and Assistant Chancellor Brenda Allen said, “When I look at 2020, I want a class that goes on to change the world.

“I want them to go on and do things that are outside of the box and compete globally,” she said.

About Author

Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

Related Articles


Featured Sponsor

Receive Chronicle Updates

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.



More Sponsors