Starkle Dream Up. Stephens College
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Stephens welcomes more than 260 new students

August 12, 2015

Alex Cole didn’t want to fall in love with Stephens College. She’s from Virginia and thought Columbia sounded a little too far from home.

“I tried to find a reason not to love it,” she said, “but I couldn’t.”

Cole is one of more than 260 new students from around the U.S. moving into the residence halls today.

Students cited various reasons for selecting Stephens, but all agreed they fell in love with the beautiful campus and friendly faculty.

Cole’s mom, Christy, attended Mary Baldwin College and worked for Sweet Briar in Virginia before it announced closure this past spring (a decision that’s since been reversed). She expressed appreciation for Stephens faculty and staff who called her to support her through it.

When a representative from the equestrian program traveled to Virginia and had dinner with the Coles, it sealed the deal.

“It felt like I was having dinner with family,” Alex said.

Hallyn Hatfield is here from San Diego. “I found the school and fell in love with it,” the fashion marketing and management major said. “I’m looking forward to learning about something I’m actually interested in.”

For Sally Russell, going to Stephens was a given.

She’s a third-generation Stephens woman, with her mom Melissa Mathieu Russell ’85 and grandmother Sally Ann Dunfee Mathieu ’49.

“I’ve known I was going to Stephens my whole life,” the Minnesota native said. “I’ve always wanted to come.”

Melissa Russell said campus is just as beautiful as she remembers, although she joked that the move-in process wasn’t as easy in the 1980s as it is today. In recent years, Move-In Day has become a campus-wide event with faculty and staff moving in students' belongings for them.

“It was smooth sailing,” she said.

Dad John also praised the College’s summer communication to students, saying it kept everyone enthusiastic about coming to college.

Cailyn Santee comes to Stephens from Waller, Texas, to study English.

“She did her research,” Mom, Cheryl, said of her daughter’s college search. “I’m proud of her.”

Santee liked the program and the fact that she could bring her cat, Azrael.

“I’m looking forward to meeting people,” she said, “and making friends and memories.”

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