First day of classes at NMU

MARQUETTE – Classes resumed today for Northern Michigan University’s roughly 9,400 students, with some excited to be back and others not so sure.

Under light rain on a humid morning, students walked and biked through campus heading to classes. The walkways were filled with students just prior to the first classes beginning, some with umbrellas, others walking with jackets pulled up over their heads.

“I’m excited for my final year,” said Sabrina Loven, 22, of Houghton.

Loven is studying social work and she’s pleased this year will include some field placement, which will allow her and other students to work in the areas they will be pursuing after graduation.

“Of course, I get to see all my classmates again,” Loven said, counting up another reason it was good to return. “We’re all really close because we’re a smaller department.”

Guiseppi Bertucci, 20, of Ishpeming is a sophomore studying business. He said he spent the summer working as a computer technician at Ishpeming High School. He was indifferent about returning to class today.

“I just want to get it over with,” Bertucci said.

Many of the returning students said they were impressed with the new Jamrich Hall, including Loven. She said the new building, with its clock tower facing the campus courtyard, “looks amazing.”

The Jamrich Hall construction project, begun in 2009, cost $33.4 million.

Rob Hansen, 22, of Barrington, Illinois, said the new building was a good part of returning for the fall semester.

“It’s exciting because we’ve got a new building, I haven’t even been inside it yet,” Hansen said.

Hansen said he spent his time over the summer hiking, kayaking, fishing but, “mostly working though.”

As the students headed to classes, sounds of nearby construction equipment filled the air, with work continuing on additional improvements to the campus.

Meanwhile, several businesses in town had “welcome back NMU” messages on their signs today as students walked, drove and rode their bikes to the Marquette campus, where an event called Fall Fest 2014 was planned from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. today on the lawn in front of the University Center.

Fall Fest is coordinated by the Lake Superior Community Partnership and the NMU Center for Student Enrichment.