James Downs, associate professor of history and American studies, will spend the 2015-16 academic year studying medical anthropology at Harvard University.
A trapeze artist, a children's book author and a Kenyan cattle herder are just a few of the newest 538 members of the Connecticut College community. The 506 members of the Class of 2013 and 32 transfer students arrived on campus Saturday, and were excited to move in despite the pouring rain. Many had traveled a great distance - the newest camels hail from 30 states, Washington, D.C., and 26 countries, including Angola, Belgium, Cambodia, Ecuador, Georgia, India, Korea, Nepal, Sierra Leone, Singapore and Tunisia.
A diverse and talented group, the Class of 2013 was selected from a pool of 4,733 applicants. Fifty-four percent of the freshmen were ranked in the top 10 percent of their high school classes and 88 percent ranked in the top 20 percent. Twelve percent of the students are the first in their families to attend college, and 16 percent are American students of color.
In her welcome address at an assembly during the students' first day on campus, Martha Merrill, dean of admission and financial aid, also pointed out that 14 percent of the class share only eight different first names.
"If your professor calls on Katherine (with a C or a K), Emily, Matthew, Alexandra, Daniel, Alison, Elizabeth or Benjamin, look around before you offer an answer," she advised.
Merrill also said that nearly 20 languages are spoken in the homes of the new students, "so it won't be unusual to hear students chatting on their cell phones in Arabic, Croatian, Korean, German, Hindi, Polish, Portuguese or Japanese."
At the ceremony, students were welcomed by President Leo I. Higdon Jr., college administrators and the president of the Student Government Association, Peter Friedrichs '10. Each freshman also received a small blue "passport" emblazoned with the college seal. The passports are a gift from the Connecticut College Alumni Association through the Office of Alumni Relations. They are given annually to each incoming class.
The assembly kicked off a five-day orientation during which students learn about everything from the college honor code to its study abroad and internship programs. They will also meet with their faculty advisors, take placements tests, learn about community service opportunities and meet each other at a variety of social events like the annual "Batch Blast," a social gathering and picnic established in 1988 by an anonymous donor in honor of Esther Batchelder '19.
The orientation week culminates with Convocation, a meeting of the entire college community to celebrate the formal beginning of the academic year, Thursday, Sept. 3, at 4:30 p.m. in Palmer Auditorium. Catherine McNicol Stock, professor of history and recipient of the 2009 John S. King Memorial Teaching Award, will give the keynote address, "The College Made New - and Old - Again."
Freshmen and transfer students will also have the opportunity to get acquainted with downtown New London on Saturday, Sept. 5. During the annual "New London 101" event, students will have lunch at the Hygienic Art Park, take a walking tour of the city and meet New London's mayor, the Rev. Wade A. Hyslop Jr. Each student will also get a New London passport with information about the city's many restaurants, businesses and attractions.
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