Past and present students reflect on the Arch ceremony

Lauren Wolters, senior, Doctor of Pharmacy Program

“I was pretty nervous at the arch ceremony my first week here, but I was excited to walk through the arch. It is very cool that faculty and staff cheer and greet new students as they walk through. I think it helps establish a welcoming and personal environment which is especially important for new students.

I think the tradition that students don’t walk back under the arch until they graduate is a neat idea as well. It helps make the UF experience unique and binds Oilers together with a tradition that everyone is a part of.”

Natalie Wertz, junior, English-Literature Emphasis Major

“I followed in my sister’s footsteps attending the University of Findlay. With that came a lot of Oiler pride as she taught me the importance of UF traditions, specifically the arch ceremony. I became extremely comfortable at my high school with a class size of 70-80 students total. Therefore, when I came to the University, I was terrified. Terrified of the size of UF, all of the people, what college classes were going to be like, living away from home, basically all of the things that college freshmen are scared of. Truthfully, I was anxious to attend the arch ceremony because of all the people that were going to be there and how important it is to the UF community. But I knew once we got in line to go through the arch that I would never forget being a scared little freshmen being welcomed at UF. I did feel like a chapter was opening up for me walking through the arch (as I had superstitiously never walked through it before).

There were a lot of ups and downs for me over the past few years at UF, mainly because I was homesick and I had thought I was going to transfer. But, of course, I didn’t transfer, and for that I am thankful. I am looking forward to my closing arch ceremony in the Spring of 2024. It was almost as if I was meant to stay an Oiler and close the UF chapter of my life and by getting to walk through the arch again in less than two years will end that chapter. I am expecting it to be such a bittersweet moment.”

Sydney Wertz, UF Class of 2020, Pre-Law major

“The arch ceremony was a wonderful induction to my UF education. It was special connecting with my classmates during that time and I felt like I was entering a new chapter of my life. Throughout college, my friends and I would discuss how excited we were for the arch ceremony and graduation. Being in the class of 2020, we were unable to have a graduation arch ceremony that year and it was something I feel we really missed out on. The arch ceremony is a wonderful tradition that you can only experience at UF.”

Darius Merriweather, UF Class of 2017, Communication

“I remember the first moments attending Findlay as a transfer student and understanding the expectations that came when you walked through the arch for the first time. I grew in so many ways professionally and personally that by the time I left Findlay going through the arch in 2017, I was prepared and confident for where life was going to take me.”


Ethan Hockaday, Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages and Applied Linguistics Program

When I first stepped through the arch for my undergraduate degree, I was filled with trepidation as while I was excited to start my next stage in life, I was also very worried about fitting in with my classmates and doing well in my major. I’m happy to report that didn’t end up being a problem and I made several lifelong friends that I still talk to despite parting ways. When I ended up walking back through the arch for my under-grad graduation, I was honestly both sad and happy. As exciting as it was to move on to my next step, I knew I’d miss Findlay and the friends I had gained during my time here and while I may have returned for my graduate education, the difference in the environment between the two degrees is stark, not only in the classroom, but outside of it as well.

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