Bradley University welcomes incoming freshman class, fall semester starts this week

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — During the weekend, the incoming freshman class at Bradley University started dorm life.

Ty Bauer is starting his first year at Bradley and said he has wanted to go to the school since he was 13. He said he is excited for everything college has to offer.

“The whole college experience in general is pretty cool,” Bauer said. “You get to grow up and it’s different from high school [because] you get to get away and just experience a whole new thing.”

The weekend was also a warm welcome for returning students, who had an unusual last school year because of the pandemic. Bauer said he feels lucky that his start to college isn’t too disrupted.

“I think I’ll have a pretty normal experience compared to the class last year and the classes who were more affected by COVID,” Bauer said. “I am very lucky that we even get to have on-campus classes.”

Bradley’s president, Stephen Standifird, said he started during the pandemic about a year ago, so he feels like everything is new to him, too.

Saturday morning, President Standifird greeted the new students and families on campus.

“There’s great energy. Obviously, last year’s been really unique. But everybody’s so excited to be back on campus,” he said.

He also said he wants this year to be like no other, where students will appreciate socialization more than ever after a difficult year and a half.

“It’s not lost on me though that [for] our second-year students, in many ways, this is their second first year. In many ways, this is my second first year,” Standifird said. “I came during the pandemic myself.”

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