Kenneth Christmon didn't tire of signing his name Sunday – he insisted on it.
The assistant vice chancellor of admissions at IPFW, soon to be Purdue University Fort Wayne, regularly paused to sign letters of intent as future student after future student did the same during Spring Campus Visit Day.
The ceremonial commitment to the university was akin to signing ceremonies held for student-athletes. Students sat at a table in front of a backdrop decorated with the Purdue Fort Wayne logo and posed for photographs with their parents and mascot “Don the Mastodon.”
“I will sign every one of those letters,” Christmon said, refusing to let a student walk away with a signature reproduced by a copy machine.
A record 877 prospective students and family members participated in Spring Campus Visit Day, which featured department open houses, campus and housing tours, and opportunities to meet with faculty and staff, among other activities.
“This day is about students and their families, solidifying in their minds this is the right choice,” Christmon said, comparing it to the last step in buying a house. “Today is a closing day.”
Although high school letter jackets were a common sight around campus, Spring Campus Visit Day gave the future college freshmen opportunities to feel like a Mastodon. Their name tags hung from lanyards emblazoned with the phrase “Go Dons!” and they were invited to autograph a mastodon statue in Walb Student Union.
Allie Ogle, who attends Triton Junior-Senior High School in Bourbon, added her name to one of the tusks. There's no question she'll attend Purdue Fort Wayne in the fall, she said.
“I'm so excited,” she said. “I couldn't contain it in the car.”
Amanda Thompson of Bluffton appreciated the chance to see campus, and her parents saw value in other aspects, such as the financial aid presentation. Her father, Doug Thompson, said the letter-of-intent signing was also nice.
“We both enjoyed that,” he said.
The positive energy on campus was undeniable, Christmon said.
“There is no question that people are embracing Purdue Fort Wayne as a place to come for higher education and we can't wait to get started!”