Jamison Carrigan always knew he wanted to go to a small school.
"I wanted to be a face and a person, not just a number," said Jamison, a freshman from Raleigh, NC. "I visited lots of small schools, but none of them felt like a strong community. The community here was just so much better than a lot of other schools I visited. When I visited Lees-McRae, I immediately knew it was the right fit. Not to mention, the campus is beautiful!"
Jamison got a taste of the Lees-McRae classroom when he visited campus for the first time. "When I got to sit in one of Dr. Ken Craig's classes, I got to experience what it would really be like to be a student here where you're not just a number in a classroom, you're a face. And that really sold me."
A Religions Studies and Psychology major, Jamison's favorite professor is religion professor Dr. Ken Craig. "He can take the study of religion to a different place. As a person who grew up in the church, it's really engaging to hear him bring up old Bible points that I heard in my old church and bring them into a fresher light, and I think that's what I really enjoy most about his classes. He's taken my Christian faith and simultaneously challenged and strengthened it," Jamison said.
Jamison also enjoys the other faith-based opportunities available to Lees-McRae students. "I grew up in a church in Raleigh, and I've always had a very deep faith. So I knew when I got to school I had to continue that faith journey in some way. So, the first place I found that was at WOW, Worship on Wednesdays, which is sponsored by Lees-McRae. And, through that I've been a worship leader with WOW. And also, I've also been involved in the 6:05 services at Banner Elk Presbyterian. These two ways I've been active in a church role that's different than back home, but it's helped me strengthen my faith."
The Banner Elk Presbyterian Church has become one of Jamison's favorite places to spend time. "My favorite place on campus is the Banner Elk Presbyterian Church sanctuary. I really like the stained glass, and the fact it was built over 100 years ago really adds to the history of the school and the church. The pulpit is really old too. It's made of stone and it's the same pulpit that's been here the entire time that the church has been here. As kind of a history nerd, I think this place is filled with history and it help deepen my faith when I come to a worship service here," he said.
Jamison has also become involved in other aspects of campus life, including being the freshman class president. "I knew that I wanted to get involved on campus in some way in a leadership role. So I went to the student development office and there I met Allison Norris, our dean of students. She told me about Student Government which was a good way for students like me to get involved in what's happening at Lees-McRae," said Jamison. "Through that I became the freshman class president and so far I've been able to plan things like the homecoming bonfire and other student activities which so far have been successful."
His first homecoming at Lees-McRae has also contributed to one of his favorite memories so far in his college career.
"As a member of student government I had to opportunity to help plan the bonfire for Homecoming Weekend. It was a lot of fun. It got snowed out halfway through which is something I didn't anticipate since it was September, but other than that we had a lot of fun. So far in my Lees-McRae experience, that's been my favorite so far."
Jamison is a member of the honors program, because he knew he wanted to be challenged in his academic studies. "The Honors Program felt like a natural fit. The professors of my honors classes are more likely to challenge my ways of thinking to grow my knowledge about all kinds of subjects, from global citizenship to pop culture."
As for plans after graduation, Jamison has given it just a bit of thought. "Since I'm just a freshman, I'm focused on getting through my classes right now. But as of right now my plans are to go to some kind of divinity school or seminary, possibly Duke or Princeton. But like I said, I'm just trying to get through my classes in order to set myself up for the best case scenario."