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Campus & Community

Pines ‘Pins’ Hopes on a New School Year

In Classrooms, on Sidewalks and at the Stamp, President Joins Terps on First Day

By Maggie Haslam

Pines walks with students on campus

University President Darryll J. Pines walks the mall en route to class on the first day of UMD's fall semester. Pines traversed the campus Monday—including stops the Campus Farm and the Stamp Student Union—to visit with students, faculty and staff.

Photo by Stephanie S. Cordle

Anyone who’s tried to drive across University of Maryland between classes knows it can feel impossible to breach the waves of students flooding across campus—and that holds true even if you’re the university president in a crimson executive golf cart.

“It’s the first day and we’re going to be late to class!” Darryll J. Pines said with a smile as his six-seater climbed Fieldhouse Drive on Monday morning. “Look at all of these students; think the semester has started?”

As students (and some faculty) raced to make their class times, grab a bite at the Stamp Student Union or shower Teddy the comfort dog with scratches behind his ears, Pines was in the mix on the first day of the Fall 2023 semester. He stopped by classrooms, greeted new staff, took selfies with students on the mall and handed out turtle pins from a seemingly never-ending supply.

He was at once a celebrity—with students exclaiming, “Holy smokes, it’s Dr. Pines!” as he walked through the Edward St. John Learning and Teaching Center—and an anonymous “dude in a suit,” sidling up to a table of unaware juniors at the Stamp, doling out directions to lost students or bagging Maryland gear at the University Book Center.

“Most people don’t know who their university president is. But when they figure it out,” Pines chuckled, “most get quite deferential.”

The exception was a young man in a Blink-182 shirt who first guessed that Pines was a Mattress Firm executive and “liked his energy.” When informed of his error, he smoothly presented his business card and suggested the two stay in touch.

Staff certainly knew him, welcoming the president with handshakes and smiles, and in some cases, screams. University Book Center employee Ingmar Newman gushed as Pines stepped behind the counter, then apologized to the line of customers: “When you’ve got the president standing next to you, you forget what’s going on!”

An impromptu visit at aerospace engineering Professor Sung Lee’s vibrations and aeroelasticity course was both a fun first-day sighting for a class of seniors and an engaging lesson in mass and aerodynamics; Pines once taught the course himself as a professor of aerospace engineering. Later, he chatted for a few minutes with freshmen from nearby Oxon Hill, Md., eager to get their impressions on their first few days at UMD.

“Welcome to College Park. We are so glad to have you here,” he said.

Pines hands out turtle pins

“It’s just a joy to see their joy and excitement,” said Pines as he walked across campus on Monday, UMD’s first day of classes. He stopped frequently to distribute turtle pins to students, staff and faculty throughout the day—one of the “M Book” Bucket List items for students to check off during their Maryland experience. (Photo by Stephanie S. Cordle)

Pines shakes student's hand at Maryland Dairy

Pines treated students, mentors and staff from TerpEXCEED to scoops of Maryland Dairy ice cream. The two-year, inclusive post-secondary education program for students with intellectual disabilities is now in its third year. (Photo by Stephanie S. Cordle)

Pines raises hand in front of Business Writing class

“Hello Terps! Are you ready for the semester?” Pines greets students in their first class of the day, “Business Writing,” taught by new English Lecturer John Tobin. (Photo by Stephanie S. Cordle)

Pines addresses class

Aerospace engineering students engage in a battle of wits with Pines on vibrations, mass and aeroelasticity on the first day of Professor Sung Lee’s class at the Edward St. John Learning and Teaching Centers. Spoiler: Pines won. (He used to teach the class!) (Photo by Stephanie S. Cordle)

Pines tours Campus Farm

Pines tours the Campus Farm with Farm Manager Megan McLean, including a visit with Ernie the sheep. The farm offers hands-on training for animal science students to help meet an increased demand for veterinarians; 80% of Maryland students who apply to veterinary school are accepted, compared to a 10% national average. (Photo by Riley Sims Ph.D. ’23)

Pines talks to students at Stamp food court

The Stamp Student Union’s Food Court saw a sharp jump in sales today. Pines shares his Maryland pride—and more turtle pins—with a group of students in between classes. (Photo by Riley Sims Ph.D. ’23)

Pines talks to student

Pines grabs a quiet corner with sophomore Gloria Kuate at the Edward St. John Learning and Teaching Center to discuss her Maryland experience and future in nursing. “I was kind of shocked,” Kuate said afterward. “I was like, ‘Oh wow! It’s President Pines!’” (Photo by Stephanie S. Cordle)

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