Wildcats expected to welcome largest class in LCU history Aug. 12

By Dr. Elizabeth Clarke,

Pineville, LA (LCU News) – Welcome Weekend to conclude with “The Awakening” featuring Curtis “CZ” Zackery, musical guests ROSE Factor, public invited

More Wildcats than ever will be arriving on campus starting next Thursday, Aug. 12, as Louisiana Christian University is expected to welcome its largest class in the institution’s 115-year history.

And the new Director of Residence Life and Student Engagement Gage Dowling, is roaring to go!

“This will be one of the largest classes in LCU’s history; that means it will be more fun than ever,” Dowling said. “Students are very excited and can’t wait to arrive on campus.”

Dowling, who began in his position this summer; has worked in residence life for other institutions for six years, and he “can’t wait to serve the Lord here.” His wife, Casey Dowling, is the College’s first director of International Student Affairs, and expects to welcome more than 40 international students this fall—up from eight last year.

At the time of this media release, President Rick Brewer said 350 freshmen were expected.

“I am so grateful for the favor of the Lord on Louisiana Christian University,” Brewer said. “All our faculty, staff and I are ready to get on campus and meet our new Wildcats and welcome back our returning ones. It’s going to be a blessed year.”

Incoming freshman Julia Thompson, the youngest of three from Lafayette, said she is anxious but optimistic about leaving home for her new college home.

“Over the summer, I have been a little bit nervous about transitioning to college, but I also know that at LCU I will not just be another face in a crowd of new students,” she said. “It’s such a loving, small community that I know I will be seen and welcomed into the Wildcat family, which makes me look forward to getting on campus and start making friends.”

Having visited campus several times over the last three years to visit and see her siblings, Thompson smiled and said she also likes all the pine trees.

“I am getting excited,” Thompson said. “I found out my roommate is from Michigan so I’m ready to help her love Louisiana in spite of the heat.”

Julia’s mother, Paige Hamilton, will have all three of her children at LCU in the fall, but she said it doesn’t get any easier seeing them leave the nest, but the experiences of her sons, senior Joel and sophomore Nathan Thompson, make her glad her youngest chose the College, as well.

“Based on her two older brothers’ experiences at Louisiana Christian University, I know that Julia is going to be in a loving environment with professors who truly care about ensuring my child succeeds in the classroom and out of it. That makes it so much easier on my heart, knowing I’m leaving her in a safe place as she starts learning how to live on her own. I’m super excited for Julia’s future, even if I feel a little sad about her leaving home.”

Wildcat Welcome Weekend will be chock full of food, fun and fellowship to keep freshmen busy—but also meeting some lifelong friends.

They will also meet their Wildcat Navigators, who will be there for them if the homesickness hits in the first few weeks. Navigators are upperclassmen who serve as mentors to the new students for their entire freshmen year.

Ariel Webster, a senior from Lafayette, is starting her second year as a Wildcat Navigator.

“When I first came to LCU, I knew not one person, and on Move-In Day my parents were in a rush to get back home so I was left alone in a completely new place, and scared,” Webster said. “The reason I love being a Navigator and being able to be there for them for anything that they need is so that no one has to feel that way, and I want them to know that from the very beginning of their new journey that I am there for them.

“I get the joy of meeting new faces here on campus and making their transition from home to college as smooth as possible in any way that I can. From guiding them around campus, answering and helping them with any questions they may have, to making friends and having fun teaching them about LCU.”

She said Welcome Weekend is a blast—but just a beginning.

And it kicks off Aug. 12 at 8 a.m. with Move-In Day. See schedule of events for a full list of activities and times. The Bridge 104.3 will provide live music throughout the day, and numerous local businesses have donated food, time and money to make this event possible.

Dowling said Wildcat Frenzy will include ice breakers, movie night, Sunday Fun Day and dodge ball. “It will be a weekend for the ages.”

Welcome Weekend concludes with the annual event “The Awakening” featuring keynote speaker Curtis “CZ” Zackery with musical guests ROSE Factor.

Zackery, better known as CZ, is a member of the pastoral staff of Church of the City in Nashville, one of the fastest growing multi-campus churches in the country. He is the author of Soul Rest: Reclaim Your Life. Return to Sabbath.

“We are excited to have CZ return to our campus to speak at LCU. He is always one of our students’ favorite speakers,” Brewer said.

The free event will be held at Aug. 15-17 at 6:30 p.m. in Guinn Auditorium and is open to all students and the community.

For more information:

Webpage https://lcuniversity.edu/campus-life/wildcat-welcome/

Schedule https://lcuniversity.edu/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Wildcat-Welcome-Weekend-Schedule-2021.pdf

Note: The College’s COVID-19 protocols will be posted on our website and will be closely aligned with protocols followed this past academic year.

Both vaccinated and unvaccinated people will wear masks for all indoor classes, meetings and other activities. Vaccines are strongly encouraged and will be offered at the Louisiana Athletic Club on campus from Aug. 10, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. and Aug. 24 at the Hixson Student Center, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. This is free of charge to all students, faculty and staff. All three vaccines will be available.

Isolation and quarantine space in the College’s residence halls is limited as we expect maximum capacity this fall. Students who are symptomatic are encouraged to depart campus for quarantine at a private residence off campus.


LCU extends many thanks to this year’s Wildcat Welcome Weekend sponsors.

The Bridge 104.3 will provide music
Calvary Baptist Church
Journey Church
Trinity Baptist Church
New Prospect Baptist Church
Pentecostals of Alexandria
Family of Grace
Pineville Park Baptist Church
Philadelphia Baptist Church

First United Methodist Pineville
Antoon Hospitality Group LLCU (Outlaw’s & Popeyes)
ETB Games
Roly Poly Sandwiches
Cenla Federal Credit Union
Red River Bank
Gourmet Grilled Cheese & More Food Truck
Cajun Dawg BBQ Food Truck
Sophie’s Italian Ice Food Truck
Raising Canes
Way Back Arcade