MTSU CUSTOMS Orientation Acclimates Class of ’28 Students to their New Home

May 17, 2024 at 12:01 pm by WGNS News

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Just 10 days after the spring Class of 2024 departed from Middle Tennessee State University, the first wave of the Class of ’28 entered campus to acclimate themselves to their new home for the next four years.

Before arriving for CUSTOMS, Cameron Gallaher, 18, of Kingston, and a recent Roane County High School graduate, had never been to MTSU. He plans to study digital marketing in the Jones College of Business.


“I love marketing in general,” Gallaher said. “I’m a digital native. It’s convenient. I grew up with technology and kept using it. In the area (region), MTSU was the only one with digital marketing as a major.”

Gallaher was among several hundred incoming students, most of them joined by their parents, attending the first of 14 freshmen CUSTOMS orientation sessions on campus Tuesday, May 14. For transfer students, six dates remain available. More than 3,000 freshman and transfer students are expected to attend by early August.

CUSTOMS helps new undergraduate students make the transition into the university from their high schools they recently graduated from and assists transfers making the adjustment from community colleges and four-year schools.

“We are glad you are here,” Laurie Witherow, interim vice provost for Enrollment and Academic Services told the audience seated in the Student Union Ballroom. “We’ve been waiting for you for a year. If you have any doubt (about college), we know you can be successful.

“We know what you’ve been through, to successfully navigate and be here. You have a 100% track record of getting through hard things, and MTSU is designed for making you successful.”

Orientation prepares them for educational opportunities and initiates their integration into the intellectual, cultural and social climate of campus — quickly showing them the ropes of MTSU student life. To learn more about the CUSTOMS experience, including dates throughout the spring and summer, visit

Witherow shared about various offices offering support, food availability, the Campus Recreation Center and recommended they check out “our amazing, four-story library.” She also urged them to “connect with faculty, fellow students, join a student organization and attend events.”

Zoe Geronimo, 18, of Lakewood near Memphis, and a St. Benedict at Auburndale graduate, plans to study psychology in the College of Behavioral and Health Sciences.

Attending with her parents, Ray and Cissy Geronimo, Zoe Geronimo said MTSU “felt like home. I could envision myself here and not anywhere else.” Regarding her major, she said she “heard a lot of good things about the psychology program — that it has a good reputation.”

Witherow told incoming students about the MTSU Summer Reading Book, New York Times bestseller “Laughing Without an Accent/Adventures of a Global Citizen” by Firoozeh Dumas, who will speak at the 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 24, Convocation in Murphy Center.

Becca Smitty, director of the MT One Stop in the Student Services and Admissions Center, discussed financial aid. To learn more, visit


CUSTOMS is coordinated by the Office of New Student and Family Programs, located in Keathley University Center Room 326. For more information, call 615-898-2454 or visit

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