Preparing for college

We went to new student & new parent orientation at the University of Memphis last week.

Twenty-five years after I started at the U of M, tuition has increased roughly five-fold and the cost of a dorm room has more than tripled. It’s okay. We were prepared for it.

Many of the buildings that were on campus when I was there have been replaced or heavy renovated. My dormitory, Richardson Towers, is about to be torn down (thank goodness).

The amenities that are in place now almost make me wish I were starting school all over again. Literally every square inch of campus is covered by WiFi. We didn’t have the Internet at all when I was there, not even dial-up.

The dining options that are available ensure that you never have to leave campus and you will definitely never go hungry.

They have a Starbucks on campus.

Most of the through streets that once covered the campus have been closed off and are pedestrian-only.

Legend has it that Mynders Hall (pictured below), which was built in 1912 and served as a female dormitory until just recently, is haunted by the ghost of Elizabeth Mynders, daughter of former university president Seymour Mynders. I did not know this at the time I was there. (It was a female dormitory, after all.)

They have a Starbucks on campus.

They offer free tutoring, free doctor’s visits for most ailments, and there’s a very large fountain on the student plaza that wasn’t there 25 years ago.

Since our students are considered adults (on paper, anyway), the number of things you can do for your child is strictly curtailed due to privacy rules. However, they will allow you, the parent, to sign as many checks made out to “University of Memphis” as you want.

They have an app and send out text alerts and the university president is on Twitter. Professors say one of their pet peeves is students on their smartphones during class.

It really has become a lovely campus. Public and private money has poured into the place since I was there.

There is a Holiday Inn across the street that is operated by students majoring in hospitality. The Fogelman Executive Center on campus also serves as a hotel and is operated by the hospitality majors.

The only full-time jazz radio station in Memphis (WUMR) operates on the U of M campus.

The Pyramid, where the Tigers played their basketball games when I was a student, is now a Bass Pro Shop.

Johnson Hall, where I took all my meteorology classes, is still there.

Dunn Hall, a.k.a. “Dunn Dungeon,” where I took my math classes, is still there.

Dr. Dwiggins, my Calculus III professor from the fall of 1992, is still there.

They have a Starbucks on campus.


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