Raleigh, N.C. — For the first time in more than 150 years, male faces were among the new students moving into the downtown Raleigh campus of William Peace University Saturday.
Men comprised roughly a third of the first class to be admitted since officials at the then-all-women's Peace College decided last summer to rename the college and admit men as full-time students.
"It's going to be a tough adjustment," sophomore Ginny Taylor said. "I liked the sisterhood that we had."
Incoming freshman Bronson Canovai, of Lexington, listed the reasons why he chose to become part of the first co-ed class: "Close to home, nice campus, nice people. (I) feel in love with the school when I came here for orientation. (I) get to play basketball."
As part of Division III of the USA South Conference, Peace will field men's teams in cross-country, golf and basketball this year. It will add men's baseball and soccer teams next year.
Peace University President Debra Townsley said the university is moving past the controversy and opposition from alumnae that accompanied the sudden decision to end the school's155-year focus on educating women and girls.
"We have more students returning than we normally have, and we've had more returning students that want to live on campus than we normally have, so what we know is that the students are happy with the decision," Townsley said.
Canovai expected to have fun during Peace's first co-ed year.
"Lots of women, meet new people, get some help on school work from women," he said. "It'll be fun. I'm very excited."
Despite some fears about change, Taylor said she thinks having men on campus could add to university life.
"The guys are going to add a lot to our class discussion and around campus life," she said. "The theater department is just going to be amazing, because they're going to have guys, and they don't have to have girls play guy parts."