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Meet Andrew Arnold ’24 Arnold packed his four years at W&L with academic and athletic opportunities, studying abroad and pursuing his interest in broadcasting.

Andrew-Arnold-24-scaled-600x400 Meet Andrew Arnold ’24
Andrew Arnold ’24
Majors: Journalism and economics
Hometown: Richmond, Virginia

Why did you choose to come to W&L?
I chose to come to W&L because of the feeling I had in my first tour on campus. I cannot really explain it much further than that, but something about walking around made me feel like I could see myself here. I was also attracted to the smaller environment that still could offer a variety of paths academically and socially.

Have you discovered a course or topic that you didn’t expect to study when you first came to W&L?
Coming to W&L I expected to major in economics, as it was something I had taken and enjoyed in high school. I never anticipated majoring in journalism. By luck, my first-year year adviser, Kevin Finch, is a professor in the department and encouraged me to join the Rockbridge Report as a weatherman in the winter of 2021. I agreed and never looked back, having taken multiple journalism courses above the requirements for the major. I also became involved in different journalistic extracurriculars because of that choice, such as writing for the Ring-tum Phi and Lexington News-Gazette and announcing games for W&L and VMI.

Where is your “home” on campus?
My home on campus is an empty practice field — I’ll explain. My first year, I really wanted to be on the men’s soccer team. Because of this, I was placed in the soccer Covid-19 cohort, which meant I lived on the hall with all the soccer players and two other guys who wanted to walk on. I spent hours practicing on my own, all to try and be part of that team. I became close friends with everyone on that hall in the process. That was my first home. After another year of the tryout process, I was eventually told I would not make the team, but I had already forged lasting friendships. Two of my friends from that hall are my roommates this year.

That’s when I found my second home. I was presented the opportunity to take my soccer skill set and transfer my kicking ability to the football field. I took some footballs home with me that summer and got to work. I wanted to be on the team badly and had a training camp to prove it. After hours and hours of practice followed by YouTube film sessions, I thought I prepared as well as I could. I was able to make the team for the 2022 season my junior year. There I discovered a whole new family and group of friends. I feel so lucky that I had the opportunity to meet so many new people in the middle of my college experience. While missing out on playing with all my soccer friends hurt, I would not trade my experience on the football team for anything. So, my home is an empty practice field. Because of the time I spent there, I found some of my best friends for life and personally grew in ways I never could have expected.

What has been your most impactful experience at W&L, either on or off-campus?
I already talked about the impact of joining the football team as an amazing experience, but something that has been more consistently great has been my job as a sportscaster for nearly every team on campus. In the fall of 2021, I had the opportunity to work with fellow students Sean Lee and Jack Hunter to take on the prospect of announcing nearly every home game that season. At the time, I was still trying to train to be on the soccer team, so I thought it would be a fun thing to do on the side. As I developed my skills as a broadcaster, I started out color commentating men’s and women’s soccer because it was the sport I knew the best. I wound up also announcing a football game that season as well as the ODAC championship for field hockey. However, by far the coolest part of that season was staying into Thanksgiving Break with Jack to announce the men’s soccer team’s NCAA tournament run through the Elite 8. The feeling I had from announcing those games was the exact same one I got from playing the sport itself. I was hooked. Since then, I have announced multiple ODAC championship games, several other NCAA games, games for nine different teams on campus and games for VMI that aired on ESPN+. I am going to do everything I can to continue announcing games after school, and Jack is now one of my best friends, in part because of our common interest. Announcing brings me so much joy, and I love being a part of different teams’ successes around campus.

Have you found a mentor on campus?
My biggest mentor on campus is journalism professor Toni Locy. She is your classic tough-love professor. She has pushed me more than I ever thought I could be pushed and has truly shown me what it means to work hard. I appreciate the way she always looks out for me while making sure I am not getting complacent. If I have a problem or need advice, I go to her, and she helps. I cannot imagine my college experience without her.

What was your favorite class and why?
My favorite class was Audio Journalism taught by Steve Cross [WLUR station manager]. I had so much fun in that class while learning practical audio editing skills. He helped Jack and me hone our skills for our sports talk radio show that he always makes sure to take the time to listen to. I have never had a teacher show more investment in his students’ success. He celebrates every success and tries to aid any failure. I am always excited to see him on campus and, like clockwork, he will be able to talk to me about a game I announced or my previous show. He cares very much and is someone I will be excited to come back and speak to in the future.

What are your hobbies/interests? How has W&L helped you develop and pursue them?
My hobbies and interests have mostly been in the realm of broadcasting, as I mentioned before. Another great experience has been working for wluLex. I joined the team at the end of my sophomore year because I thought it would be a fun way to gain social media experience. Instead, I found a very friendly group of people and went on camera in front of thousands of viewers. WluLex forced me to step out of my comfort zone and think more creatively. I am proud of the work I did for wluLex, and I hope someone out there looked at my tweets or the day-in-the-life videos I made and thought better of this school that has meant so much to me and my life.

Have you studied abroad during your time at W&L? Where did you go, and how was your experience?
I studied abroad during Spring Term of my junior year with an economics class in Paris for two weeks and in London for another week. The professors were Linda Hooks [professor of economics] and Kristina Roney [assistant professor of French], both of whom were fabulous. I was able to go with a few of my closest friends, and it was a phenomenal experience. I never expected to go abroad here because I did not want to do a full semester away, but this abbreviated Spring Term experience was perfect. I was able to do it as an athlete as well and not skip a beat. My experience was awesome, and the stories I have from the trip are irreplaceable.

How have your experiences at W&L prepared you for post-graduate success?
I think I can better answer this question in a few years. I can only say that I feel confident in myself and my abilities, and I credit the people, professors and coaches at W&L for that feeling.

What do you like about being a DIII athlete?
I like that I was able to still pursue all my other interests despite being on an athletic team. I would leave practices 15 minutes early to go announce games, and I was able to go abroad during our spring season. I think DIII is an amazing combination of a normal college experience combined with the intensity of real college athletics. In my experience, DIII athletes are just as competitive and committed as DI athletes. The difference is we still have time to be a real college student, too. I also love how much of a family the teams seem to be. No one is on the team just to keep a scholarship — everyone is there because they want to be there. Unless you plan on going professional in your sport, I think DIII is the best collegiate option for athletics.