As they arrived on campus in the late August heat, Connecticut College’s newest Camels were greeted by cheering student leaders, colorful signs and a simple message: We are so glad you’re here.
A year and a half after the onset of the global pandemic, Conn’s newest students were welcomed to a campus that—with required vaccinations for all students, faculty and staff, as well as comprehensive testing and masking policies—is operating at a full capacity and fully in-person.
This momentous arrival day was the culmination of a long journey, and the beginning of an exciting new one, President Katherine Bergeron told the new students and their families at a welcome assembly on Conn’s expansive Tempel Green.
“It is a great joy for me to be standing here and to add my voice to the chorus celebrating all you new students, the 26 transfer students and the 501 first-year students who make up one of the largest, most diverse and most talented incoming classes in our history: the Class of 2025,” she said.
“In choosing Connecticut College, I truly believe you have made one of the best decisions you could have made for your future. Why do I say this? Because I know you will find no staff anywhere more dedicated to your ongoing safety and well-being. You will find no student body anywhere more invested in helping you connect to this special community. And you will find no faculty anywhere more committed to your intellectual, social, ethical and professional development.”
Admitted from the largest applicant pool in the College’s history, the newest Camels are an impressive group, with 70% graduating in the top 20% percent of their high school classes. They come from 31 states and 20 countries, including Bhutan, Cambodia, Egypt, Iceland, Nepal, Pakistan, Paraguay and Vietnam. Seventy-seven members of the incoming class are the first in their families to go to college, while 28 are at least the second members of their families to attend Conn.
The Class of 2025 is also among the most diverse in the College’s history; 23% are domestic students of color and 7% are international students.
At the welcome event, Emmanuella Aspras ’22, vice president of Conn’s Student Government Association, encouraged the new students to step out of their comfort zones, try new things, and take the time to discover who they are and who they want to be.
“Believe me, these next few years are going to fly by,” she said. “So, take advantage of all the opportunities presented to you, and cherish it all.”
Erika J. Smith, Connecticut College’s new Dean of the College, told the students that, just like many of them, she was drawn to Conn by Connections, which she called a “groundbreaking approach to the liberal arts.” She invited the students to experience the culmination of seniors’ four-years of integrative learning at the third annual All-College Symposium in November.
“I expect that you will leave that experience intrigued, inspired and determined to find your own path, beginning on the journey to find the question that lights up your intellect,” she said.
“Starting a new year, and a new academic journey, is always filled with such excitement, energy and joy. Today, your energy has brought our campus to life, and we love it.”
Over the next several days, the new students will learn more about Connections, meet with their team of advisers, register for classes, and get to know each other and the faculty and staff of the College. The four-day “Welcome Weekend” will culminate Monday, Aug. 30, with Convocation, a celebration of the opening of the academic year. Smith will deliver the keynote address, “Loving our Questions and Living into our Answers.”