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Treasured traditions engage new faculty, students
Oxford celebrates the beginning of a new academic year.

Oxford has big plans for the new academic year as we welcome new and returning students, and faculty and staff to campus.

Oxford College begins a new academic year with another round of record enrollment. Traditions such as Oxford convocation and the candlelight procession help faculty and staff introduce the 2017-18 year to students.


Oxford observes convocation, the traditional ceremony marking the academic new year, on the evening of the first day of classes. Faculty in academic regalia process at the ceremony, with students and staff members also attending.

Susan Ashmore, Oxford professor of history, gave the address for Convocation 2017.

Remarks were also delivered by:

  • Ben Palmer, president of the Oxford College Student Government Association
  • Douglas Hicks, Oxford dean
  • Emory University dignitaries including Claire Sterk, president
  • Dwight McBride, provost and executive vice president, academic affairs
  • Michael Elliott, dean of Emory College
  • Andrea Hershatter, senior associate dean, Goizueta Business School; and
  • Linda McCauley, dean, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing

Oxford hosted a livestream of the service that has been archived.

Candlelight Procession

Following convocation, Oxford first-year students participated in the tradition of a candlelight procession through the quad, where sophomore students gathered to cheer and formally welcome them to Oxford. This ceremony is a bookend to the Candlelight Crossover, a ceremony these students will participate in as seniors just before their Emory University graduation.

Class of 2021

Entering students are members of the Oxford College Class of 2019 and Emory University Class of 2021. This class numbers 482 students who come from 41 states, the District of Columbia, two U.S. territories, and 21 countries. They are the most highly credentialed entering class, and when they join Oxford’s sophomores, they comprise the highest enrollment in Oxford’s history at 990.

New Faculty

New faculty members for 2017-18 include:

  • Melissa Hage, assistant professor of environmental science, completed her PhD in geology at the University of Tennessee. Prior to joining Oxford, Hage held positions at the University of Wisconsin-Baraboo/Sauk County and Willamette University. Her primary scholarly focus is on petrographic, geochemical and iron isotopic analysis of banded iron formation, a type of chemical sediment formed in the oceans during the early days of Earth's history. Her articles have been published in a number of leading journals including Astrobiology and Freshwater Biology.
  • Michael Martin, lecturer in biology, received a PhD in biology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Prior to joining Oxford, Martin held positions at the University of Arizona and Reed College. Martin's primary scholarly focus is animal behavior and the role of sexual selection in speciation. His articles have been published in a number of leading journals including Molecular Ecology, Journal of Evolutionary Biology, and Animal Behaviour.
  • Pablo Palomino, assistant professor of Latin American and Caribbean studies/Mellon Faculty Fellow, received a PhD in Latin American history from the University of California-Berkeley. Prior to joining Oxford, Palomino held a position at the University of Chicago. His primary scholarly focus is the cultural history of modern Latin America (especially Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico) with an emphasis on the transnational formation of Latin America as a world region in the 20th century. His articles have been published in a number of leading journals including Journal of Social History and as a chapter in Mazel Tov, Amigos!: Jews and Popular Music in the Americas.
  • Gwendolynne Reid, assistant professor of English and director of writing programs, completed her PhD in communication, rhetoric, and digital media at North Carolina State University. Prior to joining Oxford, Reid held positions at North Carolina State University. Her primary scholarly focus is digital writing in the disciplines, with research interests that include writing across the curriculum, genre studies, multimodality, and writing program administration. Her articles have been published in a number of leading journals including Across the Disciplines and as a chapter in Writing Assignments in Context.
  • Teresa Romano, assistant professor of economics, completed her PhD in economics at Duke University. Prior to joining Oxford, Romano held positions at Goucher College and the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. Romano's primary scholarly focus is on K-12 education policy, its impact on resource allocation, and subsequent student outcomes. Her articles have been published in a number of leading journals including Economics of Education Review.

Faculty members who enter the academic year with promotions include:

  • Molly McGehee, associate professor of American studies and English
  • Matthew Moyle, associate professor of French; and
  • Deric Shannon, associate professor of sociology.

Other new faculty joining Oxford this fall include Stephen Bagwell, political science; Christopher Blake, economics; Cassandra Casias, Latin; Begoña Claveria, Spanish; Christian de Francisco, anthropology; Jack Hardy, quantitative theory and methods; Farah Hasin, economics; Sarah Higinbotham, English; Kira Jones, classics; Christopher Lirette, American studies; Heunggi Park, mathematics; Nicolas Petit, mathematics; Andrei Popa, psychology; Jessica Lopes da Rosa-Spiegler, biology; Austin Scharf, chemistry; Rebekah Spera, philosophy; Alex Vinson, sociology; Xiaobo Wang, English, and director of the writing center; William Wright, English; and Bao Xueju, Chinese.

On sabbatical during fall semester are Camille Cottrell, associate professor of art history and studio art; and Molly McGehee, associate professor of American studies and English.

Oxford also welcomes Danielle Miller, who begins the academic year as senior associate dean of finance, operations, and information technology. Prior to coming to Oxford in July, she was director of finance and strategic initiatives at Florida International University’s Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine.

Intervarsity Sports

Oxford’s women’s soccer team started its season against Gordon State College on Tuesday, Aug. 22. They will play Saturday, Aug. 26 at Howard Community College in Columbia, Md. The men’s soccer team will open their season on Thursday, Aug. 24 at Georgia’s LaGrange College. Oxford’s women and men’s cross country teams will begin their season with the Cougar XC Challenge in Tallahassee, Fla., on Friday, Aug. 25.


Following the opening of the new Dining Hall this past January, construction continues on Pierce Hall—built in 1962. When the building opens in January 2018, it will be updated with 21st-century classrooms, art studio, social-science lab, offices, and spaces for faculty/student interaction and multi-discipline collaboration.

Classes will end on December 5. The final day of fall semester is December 16.

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