Wilkes University Welcomes Students For 89th Academic Year

by Web Services
John Wilkes Statue

First-year students will move in starting on Thursday, Aug. 26.

Wilkes University welcomes students to campus for its 89th academic year during Welcome Weekend from Aug. 26 to 28. The weekend of events is a prelude to the start of classes on Monday, Aug. 30.

Welcome Weekend

Move-in for first-year and transfer students will be held on Thursday, Aug. 26. Students begin moving in as early as 9 a.m. and continue throughout the day. Upperclassmen move in on Saturday and Sunday. Details can be found here.

Welcome Weekend activities for first-year students include social activities, including movie night, roller skating, games and yoga, as well as sessions to help students excel academically. Workshops will address ways that students can organize tasks, assignments and study time.

The New Class

Wilkes’ Class of 2025 and 2027 has approximately 570 new students. The incoming class represents students from 19 states and seven countries. In addition, 83 full-time transfer students and more than 650 new graduate students will attend the University. This brings the total number of students enrolled in all of Wilkes’ programs to approximately 5,100.

Eight students will join the Bonner Leaders Program. This unique work-study program blends community service and leadership education to inspire students to become service leaders at Wilkes and in the greater community. Wilkes is the only university in northeastern Pennsylvania and one of just eight in the Commonwealth to offer the service-leadership program to students.

Highlights from the first-year class:

  • Over 200 students are from Luzerne and Lackawanna counties, earning a $2,000 Hometown Advantage Award.
  • Nearly half are the first in their families to pursue a four-year degree.
  • Thirty-nine students are in the Wilkes Honors Program
  • More than 165 new students are athletes. After a pandemic-related hiatus in 2020, fall athletic programs will fully compete this year.

In addition, eight new faculty members will mark their first semester at Wilkes, teaching classes in nursing, pharmacy, computer science, theater and psychology.


This is the second academic year for the University’s seventh president, Greg Cant, who joined Wilkes in May 2020. An inauguration ceremony is planned for 10:30 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 1 at the F.M. Kirby Center for Performing Arts.

This academic year marks the first for senior vice president and provost, David Ward. Ward, who started in June, comes to Wilkes from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. Ward serves as the University’s chief academic officer, leading the University’s scholarship, programs and initiatives, and working with the deans and faculty of its six academic schools and colleges.

Academic Developments
Wilkes launches two new academic majors this year:

  • Civil engineering teaches students how to design, build and maintain the infrastructure that society depends upon every day. Students in the major can choose one of four concentrations: environmental engineering, geotechnical engineering, structural engineering and water resources and hydraulic engineering.
  • Special education prepares students to meet the unique educational needs of pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade students who have diagnosed special needs. Wilkes is one of the first institutions in the Commonwealth to offer the special education major.

Campus Enhancements
Upon their return, students can visit the Colonel Corner, the new book and spirit store that is housed in the Henry Student Center. Operated by Barnes & Noble, the new store is located in the center of student life and activity, providing a convenient area for students’ academic and apparel needs. The store’s hybrid model means students can order their books in advance online and pick them up as they arrive on campus. The store stocks apparel, school supplies, lab materials and convenience items.

University Center on Main, which houses the Sidhu School of Business and Leadership, Starbucks and the McHale Athletic Center, was recently dedicated in recognition of alumni Ron and Rhea Simms. The newly renamed Simms Center on Main honors the family’s decades-long commitment and support of Wilkes University.

COVID-19 Protocols
Students are returning to campus with reduced health and safety protocols as compared to the last academic year. Face masks are required inside all campus buildings, aside from single occupancy offices and in residence hall room with assignment roommates.

In addition, students, faculty and staff are required to report their vaccination status. Those who are not fully vaccinated need to present negative test results before returning to campus and participate in weekly assurance testing throughout the fall semester.

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