A collage of images shows Bucknell's campus, a "We heart the Bison" sign, a Bucknell play, a campus tour and students planting a tree

10 Reasons to ’ray About 2022

December 10, 2021

by Bryan Wendell

With live entertainment, a return to normal athletics schedules, two on-campus Commencement ceremonies, and fresh opportunities for students — both current and future — to engage their curiosity, 2022 is shaping up to be a banner year for Bucknell University.

While 2021 was an unequivocal success for the University, which remained open throughout the year and safely hosted in-person events and activities, a new year will bring new opportunities for students, faculty, alumni and members of the community to be entertained, engaged and educated.

Here are just 10 of the many reasons to 'ray about 2022.

1. Commencements (Yes, Plural) to Return to the Quad

In May 2022, Bucknell's Malesardi Quadrangle will once again fill with the sounds of stirring speeches and the sights of confident graduates, proud faculty members and tearful relatives.

But in a pandemic-prompted twist, 2022's Commencement ceremony will happen twice. The Class of 2020, which didn't have an in-person ceremony because of COVID, will celebrate on Saturday, May 21.

The next day — Sunday, May 22 — graduates from the Class of 2022 will cross the stage and officially begin their post-Bucknell chapter.

Commencement will return to the heart of Bucknell's campus for the first time since 2019. The 2020 celebration was postponed, and 2021's Commencement was moved to the Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium to allow guests more room to spread out.

Read about Commencement

2. Athletics Teams Resume More Normal Schedules

The notion that a student-athlete's schedule is ever "normal" is a bit misleading. Bucknell student-athletes lead busy lives, balancing advanced coursework with practices, training and competition — not to mention time spent on other extracurriculars and hanging out with friends. That makes Bucknell's student-athlete graduation rate of 89% (sixth best in the country) even more impressive.

But for varsity student-athletes at Bucknell and across the country, 2020 and 2021 proved extra challenging. Travel schedules were shortened, overnight stays were eliminated, and fall sports like football and field hockey held shortened seasons in the spring.

The Bucknell women's basketball team played just 10 games in what was considered the 2020–21 season, even though all games were played in January, February and March 2021. The team finished with a record of 9-1, losing in the Patriot League Tournament semifinals. The men's team played just 12 games in that span, also losing in the Patriot League Tournament semifinals.

The 2021-22 season has marked a return to normalcy, giving Bucknell's 27 Division I athletics teams the chance to travel and test their mettle against teams from across the country.

The women's basketball team, for example, will travel to seven different states during its 29-game season. The men will play 31 games in eight different states, including a trip the team recently took to Cancun, Mexico, for a tournament in November 2021.

In the winter and spring of 2022, Bucknell will compete in 14 different Patriot League tournaments or championship events, beginning with swimming and diving in February and continuing to baseball and softball in May.

Cheer on the Bison

3. Students Get New Places to Discover

While Holmes Hall officially opened in the fall of 2021, the new home for the Freeman College of Management and Department of Art & Art History will enjoy its first full calendar year of operation in 2022.

Its high-tech labs, design studios and art galleries bring students from different disciplines and backgrounds into a space for shared learning. It is a physical representation of Bucknell's commitment to education that crosses traditional barriers between academic areas.

Also in 2022, Bucknell will continue residence hall renovations as part of an ongoing effort to provide students with a complete living-learning experience.

Bucknell guarantees on-campus housing for all four years of an undergraduate education, meaning the University is constantly ensuring those spaces have the modern amenities and personalized touches today's students require.

Check out Holmes Hall

4. Performers Take the Stages

When the pandemic interrupted its 2020–21 schedule, the Weis Center for the Performing Arts launched digital-only programming, such as its Weis Center Sessions and Weis Center Snaps series. These virtual events brought student and faculty performances and talks right into the living rooms of Bucknell fans around the world.

But there's something irreplaceably magical about watching live performances on the Weis Center stage. In fall 2021, the Weis Center doors opened wide, beginning a season with nearly 30 shows. Performers in the 2021–22 season come from Bali, Venezuela, West Africa, Mexico, Colombia and across the United States.

The season will continue through the winter and spring of 2022 (and resume in the fall of 2022 with a whole new lineup), proving the power of live performance to inspire, energize and restore us all.

Also in 2022, student performers will present shows designed to challenge the mind and uplift the soul.

That will begin with a pair of spring mainstage theatre productions. First up is Electra, the Greek tragedy by Sophocles that is set to debut at the Tustin Studio Theatre on Feb. 25.

Two months later, students will star in Fun Home, the Tony Award-winning Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori musical about a young woman's discovery of her own sexuality and quest to uncover mysteries about her gay father. The show debuts April 8 at the Harvey M. Powers Theatre.

Also in April, Bucknell dancers will present their Choreographer's Showcase (April 22 and 23) and Spring Dance Concert (April 29 and 30).

See the 2021-22 Weis Center lineup

Step inside Theatre & Dance

5. Test-optional Admissions Policy Continues

In the 2019–2020 academic year, Bucknell launched its five-year test-optional pilot program, meaning students would not be required to submit an SAT or ACT score as part of their application. The policy, designed to open Bucknell's doors to more applicants and provide greater access to students from varying educational and socioeconomic backgrounds, has been a success so far. It is, in effect, a continuation of Bucknell's longstanding approach to application review — a holistic look that sees each applicant as more than a few numbers.

For the Class of 2025, which arrived at Bucknell in the fall of 2021, about half of all applicants (50.6%) were test-optional. Of those, about a quarter (25.9%) were admitted to Bucknell.

During 2022, the test-optional policy will continue. That means students applying to join the Class of 2026 (application deadline Jan. 15, 2022) and those hoping to join the Class of 2027 (applications open Aug. 1, 2022) will choose whether to include test scores when applying.

What does "test-optional" really mean?

6. Rail Trail Extension to Bucknell Campus Nears Completion

The Buffalo Valley Rail Trail, a 9-mile path from Lewisburg to Mifflinburg, has long been a favorite spot for students looking to take a walk, run or ride between classes or on the weekend. The asphalt and gravel trail passes by pastoral farms, beloved ice cream shops and a new brewpub.

The only slight speedbump to enjoying the trail is getting there. Traveling to its Lewisburg terminus requires a 10-minute walk northwest from campus.

Soon, however, that will change. A new extension to the trail, scheduled to be completed in 2022, will bring the trail to Bucknell's doorstep — onto Sixth Street near Vedder Hall.

This will make it easier than ever for walkers, runners and cyclists to venture into the fresh air and travel for miles and miles.

Read about the Rail Trail

7. In-person Admissions Events Continue

Student giving a tour on Malesardi Quad

Ask any of our student admissions ambassadors why they chose Bucknell, and you'll notice a common theme.

"Overall I just fell in love with the absolutely gorgeous views that the campus has to offer," says Miles Bassett '24, an education major from St. Louis, "as well as the sense of community both from the University itself as well as the town."

Even though Bucknell introduced a new menu of virtual visit options in 2020 and 2021, no screen-based experience could ever replicate the real thing. On-campus tours and in-person open houses returned in 2021, giving prospective students and their families a first-hand view of those gorgeous views our students rave about.

Expect that to continue in 2022 as Bucknell's admissions team welcomes visitors from across the country and around the world to check out campus.

"When I first got my tour of campus in my senior year of high school, there was an immediate feeling inside of me that told me this is where I am meant to be," says Tori Casquarelli '24, a biology major from Westchester, N.Y. "People walking by were saying 'hi,' professors were walking their dogs, and the students' energy and pride to be a Bucknell student was felt all throughout campus."

Plan your visit

8. Library & Information Technology Unveils New Research Tools

Bucknell's Bertrand Library has 670,000 physical volumes and more than 1 million electronic volumes. With a world of knowledge at their fingertips, where does a curious student begin?

If they stop by Bertrand in person, they can visit the Research Help area on the main floor (or book an appointment online). But a range of new digital options, expected to grow in 2022, will make conducting research even faster and more rewarding.

The Library & Information Technology interlibrary loan department recently joined RapidILL, a community-based interlibrary loan ecosystem that makes finding articles and book chapters a snap. Students, faculty and staff can request a scholarly resource and — about eight hours later, on average — receive a PDF of the necessary material.

This new tool and many more will help students unlock new frontiers of research in 2022 and beyond.

Explore Bucknell's library

9. Alumni Eager to Connect With Fellow Bucknellians

The new year will present dozens of opportunities for alumni and families to connect and engage with students — all through the aptly named Center for Alumni & Family Engagement.

From speaking to classes to visiting campus for special events in 2022, Bucknell's alumni will prove just how passionate they are about helping students succeed.

That starts with big events happening in 2022, such as Reunion Weekend (June 3–5), Family Appreciation Weekend (Sept. 16–18) and Homecoming Weekend (Sept. 30–Oct. 2).

But that trio is only the beginning. Students can start networking with alumni through the Reunion Ambassador Program, the Bucknell University Alumni Association Student Member position, BucknellConnect, and by attending events in their area during breaks.

Discover more ways to connect

10. Students Step Up to Serve Community

Supporting the Lewisburg community is about more than being a good neighbor. It's also a chance for students to apply what they're learning in the classroom to make a difference across Central Pennsylvania.

With more than 300 community partners, Bucknell's Office of Civic Engagement connects students with meaningful ways to volunteer as individuals or with a group of friends.

The University even offers a $20,000 annual scholarship to support students who have distinguished themselves as public-service leaders in their home communities and who show promise that they'll contribute to the University's strong culture of service toward others.

In 2022, service-learning opportunities will include weekly and monthly programs as well as perspective-altering one-off events. Students can incorporate their civic engagement efforts into existing class projects or use it as a way to meet new people and give back.

Learn about Civic Engagement

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Stay updated about Bucknell throughout 2022