Iowa Central Community College celebrated the first day of its 2012-2013 school year Tuesday.
"We're excited," said Dan Kinney, Iowa Central president. "We had a lot of staff show up here at 6 o'clock. It's going good again."
To welcome new and returning students, Kinney spent the morning outside the campus Student Support Services building giving students local gift bags, a doughnut and a bottle of water, along with his personal greeting.
Dan Kinney, Iowa Central Community College president, left, greets new student Andrea Lynch with a complimentary doughnut and bottle of water on the college’s first class day Tuesday.
This was Kinney's fourth Donuts with Dan, which he's done every year since joining the college.
"It's a beautiful day. My first year, it was freezing cold here," he said. "Today, we've got sun. It's going to be warm, but we're off to a good start."
The celebration began Monday night with PlayFair, an orientation activity, followed by a barbecue and a dance.
"It's an icebreaker to get students to meet each other," he said.
Tuesday evening, students enjoyed hog roast and further activities, including a zip line and mechanical bull, all for fun and to "help get the students ready to go," Kinney said.
Iowa Central enrollment continues to grow. On Sunday, more than a thousand students moved in to the on-campus residences.
"We're anticipating another increase," said Tom Beneke, vice president of enrollment management and student development. "Hopefully, our head count will exceed 6,400 students. About 1,275 will live on campus. And hopefully, we can run our credit hour load to an excess of 66,000. That's all positive for Iowa Central."
Beneke said he has enjoyed seeing the college grow as much as it has, by about 2 percent yearly.
"It's amazing what Iowa Central has experienced in the last 15 years with our growth," he said. "Every year you think, can we do it again? And we find a way to do it. It's very exciting not only for us as a college, but for Fort Dodge and the whole region that we serve."
For some, it was their first day of college, Kinney said.
"They're a little nervous," he said. "We get them guided in the right direction, so they're starting the day off right. And that's important."
Kinney said he enjoys interacting with the students.
"It's so fun to be out here and to get to meet these students, getting to know them," he said. "A lot of them are coming, and some of them have no clue where they're going. They're a little concerned. So we're having staff all over campus help, just to help guide students and get them to where they need to go."