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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Lauren Black, a freshman from Shippensburg, Pa., could hardly contain her excitement as she moved her belongings into Lincoln Hall over the weekend.
Black - one of over 300 students who will embark on an exciting new residential college experience at West Virginia University this month - plans to major in geology so she can study and conduct research on such phenomenon as volcanic activity.
She also wants to go to Europe over spring break with her residence hall-led study abroad program, and already she has joined a leading student organization - "The Pride of West Virginia" Mountaineer Marching Band.
What's more, she just returned from Adventure West Virginia, a unique summer wilderness program that allows new students to bond with one another while enjoying the natural beauty of the Mountain State.
"This is like one big melting pot," Black said of the students she's met and the experiences she's had so far. "It's pretty much like picking out people from every walk of life."
That's exactly what WVU President David C. Hardesty Jr. envisioned in Lincoln Hall - the University's first residence hall to be built since the 1960s and the first modeled by a school WVU's size on a "residential college" concept.
The hall was the backdrop for his annual back-to-school briefing and formal dedication and ribbon-cutting Wednesday (Aug. 16). It is named for U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, who signed legislation that established WVU and other public colleges like it as well as the act by which West Virginia became a state.
"With today's opening and dedication of Lincoln Hall, WVU embarks on a new frontier with our established Resident Faculty Leader Program," Hardesty said. "For the past 10 years, the RFL …