A couple hugging outside one of the high rise residence halls

An eager Class of 2026—and all of their creature comforts—descended on Farmville and Longwood’s campus this week, amid unseasonably cool summer temps and an air of excitement that comes with beginning a new life chapter.

Traditionally, the sweltering mid-August heat and humidity make move-in days perspiration-drenched experiences. But this week’s mild summer temperatures provided a welcome reprieve for the families, students, and cadre of Peer Mentors and staff helpers hauling boxes, furniture and college life essentials inside Moss, Johns, Sharp and Register, the residence halls where the majority of freshmen live.

Members of the women’s basketball team were among the friendly faces who showed up to help the freshmen and their parents cart their belongings—minifridges, cases of ramen, crates of snacks and even a few futons—inside.

There were other signs of the return to normalcy after two years of pandemic protocols. Gone were mask requirements and limits on how many people could accompany new students during move-in. But unchanged were the usual hugs, tears, photos and mixed emotions of anticipation and butterflies as families said their goodbyes.

New friends, new experiences and a new home for the next four years await the more than 1,000 new students Longwood is welcoming to campus this fall—members of a class that is the most talented, academically gifted and diverse in university history. The Cormier Honors College for Citizen Scholars is boasting its largest class of incoming students ever—220 freshmen, plus an additional 30 transfer students.

Honors College freshmen moved in on Sunday and began a four-day retreat on Monday. After the retreat wrapped up on Thursday, CHC freshmen gathered outside of Wheeler Hall, the residence hall that houses mostly Honors College scholars, and helped arriving non-CHC freshmen with move-in.

“That’s the kind of class this is,” said Dr. Chris Kuuk, the Wilma Register Sharp and Marc Boyd Sharp Dean of the Honors College. “I got goosebumps when I heard about that. They could have just been chilling in their rooms, but instead, they were helping others. That’s compassion!”

Below, we caught up with eight freshmen who moved in this week, asking them about what brought them to Longwood, what they did this summer, what they plan to study and what they are looking forward to most as they prepare to begin their college adventure.

Macari Johnson ’26

Richmond, Virginia | Business Administration

Macari Johnson ’26

I brought my mother, grandmother and grandfather with me on move-in day. All three of them are key components in my life, and I would not be who I am without their influence. I chose Longwood because my mother went here when she was my age and I’ve always liked the campus. I’m looking forward to meeting new people and getting a great education.

This summer, I traveled a lot around the United States. But my favorite trip was going to a concert in Miami.

I’ve actually known my roommate for a while prior to this summer, from playing sports back in high school. My goal this year is to have very good grades and just have a good first year in general. I am open to trying new things.

Gabby Mullins ’26

Troutville, Virginia | Psychology

Gabby Mullins ’26

I am excited about calling a new place home and discovering myself outside where I grew up. I chose Longwood because it was the only place that made me feel like more than just a number during the college admissions process. Longwood’s staff, specifically Dr. Chris Kukk and Jessi Znosko from the Cormier Honors College, made me feel so comfortable. Authentic character like theirs is hard to find today. My mom once told me that when I found people like that, to never let them go.

I am planning on studying industrial-organizational psychology and later following a career path to work in the manufacturing field. This summer I worked as a full-time intern with the quality department at PlyGem in Rocky Mount, Virginia. It was a lot of hard work, but I am very grateful for all the lessons I learned. One thing I brought with me from home is my dance shoes. I have danced for 16 years, and I plan on continuing throughout my college career!

Emma Dalton ’26

South Boston, Virginia | Communication Sciences and Disorders

Emma Dalton ’26

I want to go into speech pathology at the K-12 level because I enjoy helping everyone—especially children. Being an older sister to my three siblings and a student assistant at dance has shown me that I work well with children.

I chose Longwood because the campus is beautiful and it’s close to my hometown. I also liked how the classes are smaller compared with other universities. My roommate is Gabby Mullins, and we met for the first time on Sunday during move-in! We had already talked online a lot through the Longwood Class of 2026 Facebook group. My goal for freshman year is to have new adventures and to make lots of friends.

Xavier Munoz ’26

Colonial Heights, Virginia | Nursing

Xavier Munoz ’26

My roommate and I texted each other before moving in, but the first time we met was this week. I am interested in joining the club rugby team as well as rushing Theta Chi in the spring. One goal I have for this year is to not get behind on work in my classes.

This summer I went to the beach with some friends and again with my family. I mostly just hung out with my friends around our town. One special thing I brought with me is my PlayStation. My brother and I always play, and that’s how I will mostly be in contact with him, as well as with a friend of mine who goes to Virginia Tech.

Blakely Wright ’26

Richmond, Virginia | Exploratory Studies

Blakely Wright ’26

I want to learn as much as I can and have fun while doing it— that’s what college is supposed to be about. I’m quite overwhelmed by the massive amount of cool clubs I've seen and heard about so far. There are a lot of choices! I would love to join Psychology Club, Gaming Club or even The Rotunda newspaper, and maybe more. I have also thought about joining a sorority, as well. I absolutely love photography, too, and, if I have the time, I would be really interested in starting a Photography Club. 

I know that I’m in for a huge change, so my biggest goal this year is to stay on track, study hard and keep my grades up. At the same time, I want to be able to have fun and meet lots of new people, so being able to balance school, work and my personal life is very important to me.

This summer I went to Pensacola, Florida, which I consider a second home. I also saw The Weeknd in Washington, D.C., which was my first concert since pre-Covid. He was awesome!

I’m an avid gamer, and one thing I brought with me from home is my Nintendo Switch. When you don’t see me on campus, I’ll definitely be studying in my room ... or playing Final Fantasy. But definitely studying!

Chelsea Moorefield ’26

Cumberland, Virginia | Nursing

Chelsea Moorefield ’26

As a first-generation college student, I’m so excited to begin my Longwood journey. My hometown is Cumberland, Virginia, which is about 30 minutes away from Farmville. Longwood has been my favorite college ever since I can remember. But one of the reasons I chose to come here is because of the direct-admit nursing program.

I love that there are so many ways to get involved on campus. I also love the good luck emblems, like crowns, around campus and how encouraging everyone is. My focus in my first year is to just get a feel for Longwood. A goal that I have set for myself is to make new friends and become more outgoing. This summer, I spent time with family, friends and my boyfriend, including going to the beach with his family. One thing I brought with me from home is a comfy throw blanket!

Ryan Griffin ’26

Poquoson, Virginia | Business Administration

Ryan Griffin ’26

My sister just graduated in May 2022, so I’ve been familiar with the university. I chose Longwood because the campus seems homey and small enough to help me reach my goals and be able to bond with the community.

I’m interested in joining the D&D Club because I like the game. I’ve also been in contact with the basketball coaches about the possibility of being a manager. I think later down the line I would consider possibly joining a fraternity for connections in the business world and for great bonding experiences. I want to go into real estate because I’m a people person.

Jose Ramos Flores ’26

Chesterfield, Virginia | Communication Studies (Digital Media)

Jose Ramos Flores ’26

I’ll be living with two Ryans this year! My roommate, Ryan, is one of my good friends. I also have a suitemate named Ryan, whom I just met this week. Our other suitemate, Josh, is also a good friend of mine.

There are multiple clubs and organizations I’m looking forward to finding out about and maybe joining. I really want to join a basketball-related club so I can play and show off my skills. I also am really interested in joining a theater club or organization because my dream job is to be an actor. And lastly, I want to join a podcast/broadcast-related club or organization to gain some skills in that department.

This summer I spent a lot of time playing basketball and video games with friends. I went to Disney World for the first time ever with my family and my girlfriend. I also worked at Texas Roadhouse and was the best busboy there.

It is difficult to narrow down just one special item that I brought from home. It could either be a poster from one of the plays I was involved in or my trophy for my student-created film. But I think the most special thing I brought with me, although it may be a little childish, is my plushie, Crash, who’s been with me since I was young and has always come with me on my adventures.

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