New day dawning at William Peace University

August 20, 2012 10:23:36 AM PDT
A new day is dawning at William Peace University.

As the fall semester begins Monday, it is the first time in the school's 155-year history that men will be in the classroom as full-time students.

It's been a year since the all-girl Peace College announced it would become William Peace University and accept men into their program.

Over the weekend, the first crop of co-eds arrived on campus.

"I've been through a lot so, also I've been to New York too long so, I just wanted to go somewhere different," said freshman Brandon Young, who found out about the college though a friend.

He and some of the other male freshman on campus said they feel the new co-ed school presents them with opportunities.

"I feel amazing," Young said. "I feel like we definitely made history here. I know we're going to do great."

"Probably needed to change," freshman Alex Reynolds said. "I mean, maybe it doesn't, maybe it does. But I think it's a pretty good change. It will open some doors for different department."

However, when Peace announced the switch some protested and even pulled financial support.

"At first it was frustrating you know, with all the changes," senior Danica Co said. "When they said it was a change over time, but it seemed like it was all at once. But you know, I've gotten the hang of it and you know, it's for the betterment of our school."

She said her first day with male students has been a positive one.

"I worked with a group of six of them in our William Peace University singers and they're awesome," Co said.

The university's president Debra Townsley said last month that the transition from an all-girl to a co-ed school has been successful overall.

"With the students, it seems to be going just great," she said. "This is obviously what the students needed and wanted and when we look at our returning students, what we see is that our first and second year retention has gone up 10 percent."

Townsley said she is proud of the increases she has seen at the university, and said the change was best for the future of the school.

"Some people may never accept it and I'm sorry for that," Townsley said. "But, I hope people will understand that the goal here is that we continue to offer a great quality academic program."

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