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King University News :: An Experience Like No Other

At September’s end, 161 freshmen and 29 faculty and staff members from King University made their way to our nation’s capital, Washington D.C., for the University’s annual Experience D.C. excursion. For more than a decade, King freshmen have been experiencing the nation’s capital and creating connections that will last a lifetime.

“Experience DC provides a unique opportunity for each incoming class to get to know one another, as well as members of the faculty and staff, during a shared experience that is both challenging and fun,” said Dr. Matt Peltier, dean of students at King. “Along with new student orientation and first-year seminar course, this trip to Washington adds to a common journey that equips students with a good foundation for their remaining college experience. Students quickly find this is a great opportunity to make connections and meet people, despite some initial apprehension about navigating a major city like D.C.”

Far more than a sightseeing tour, this unique expedition is designed to build cohort unity through interaction with faculty and staff outside the classroom setting. Freshman will have this adventure in common with King sophomores, juniors, and seniors, as well as alumni who traveled in previous years. 

The first stop on the Experience D.C. trip every year is the National D-day Memorial in Bedford, Va. Students have the opportunity to walk through the Reynolds Garden, named for a King alumnus, Richard S. Reynolds (1900). Memorialized in the garden, Reynolds was “the visionary industrialist-poet who foresaw his country’s inevitable need for aluminum. During the late 1930’s, Reynolds responded to this need by placing his fortune and reputation in the balance to produce enough aluminum for the United States to build and sustain the air force giving the Allies overwhelming air superiority for D-Day.” 

Through a variety of tracks, students have the opportunity to explore how their studies in the classroom, in their major, can turn into their vocation. The trip is also designed to show students how vast the options are for careers within the field they choose.

Tracks students participate in include visits to the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, National Gallery, Capitol Police, Capitol Area Food Bank, Partnership for Public Service, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Bureau of Engraving and Printing, Natural History Museum, Folger Shakespeare Library, National Gallery of Art, National Museum of Crime and Punishment, National Cathedral, National Cryptologic Museum, United States Capitol Building, United States Supreme Court, National Museum of Health and Medicine, National Museum of American History, Hirshhorn Museum of Contemporary Art Sculpture Garden, and the National Museum of Air and Space.

Several students participated in a “selfie” scavenger hunt of Washington D.C. While touring the capital the freshman had to check off a list of places, people, and items with which they had taken selfies. Other unique tours included a spy tour of D.C., a visit to the nation’s largest zoo, and the “quack attack” tour, where students received a guided tour of a WWII “duck,” a restored amphibious assault vehicle.

Students also honored the nation's war veterans in the wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. Additionally, they continued on to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial. “This year, there were several veterans in attendance at the wreath-laying ceremony. All the students were moved during the ceremony; some were caught off guard at just how emotional the ceremony was,” commented Peltier.

The Experience DC trip is distinctive in that it integrates opportunities for personal, social, and intellectual challenge and growth, providing students the opportunity to learn more about themselves and their classmates, explore vocational opportunities, and experience the tremendous treasures found in our nation’s capital. “Through this experience, we hope students will a vision for something that is calling them beyond college,” said Peltier.

For more information on Experience D.C., contact King’s Office of Student Affairs at 423.652.4740 or visit