The St. Thomas community embraced the opportunity to be together outside and welcome the Class of 2025 at the March Through the Arches on Sept. 7.
After an introduction by Undergraduate Student Government President Adam Revoir '22 to kick off the event, Director of Admissions Kristen Hatfield '96, '04 MA highlighted some of the statistics of the Class of 2025.
"You are 1,597 students strong," she said. "You come from 27 states and 35 countries. You are the most diverse class in St. Thomas history ... 25% of you are students of color. International students are also making history today, because we have our largest group of international students in our undergraduate class."
Hundreds of students, faculty, staff, parents and community members lined the sidewalks of the lower quad on the St. Paul campus, cheering and applauding.
"When you pass through the Arches of St. Thomas this morning as our newest students, you officially become a part of an academic community that Archbishop Ireland started in 1885," President Julie Sullivan said. "You become a part of a rich learning tradition that spans more than a century. You join a learning community that will support you and will challenge you; a community that expects its members to embrace its values and traditions; a community that is rooted in Catholic intellectual tradition, and because it is Catholic, welcomes all."
Thousands gathered in Schoenecker Arena in the Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex for the welcoming assembly and interfaith blessing.
The Newsroom connected with several attendees at the celebration to capture their thoughts and emotions.
It's a wonderful, wonderful tradition. I really love seeing different flags from different countries. It shows how much diversity there is ... coming from Cameroon and seeing my flag soaring up there makes me so happy. It shows that we are all one even though we all come from different backgrounds."Olive ndikum, a first-year student from cameroon majoring in accounting
[March Through the Arches] is fabulous, the amount of energy of the students and enthusiasm. It's a great way to commence the St. Thomas experience. It's an opportunity for the greater St. Thomas community to welcome everyone."executive vice president and provost eddy rojas, who was attending his first march through the arches
I come from a small hometown [Palisade, Minnesota], so being around this many people is exciting. It's great to be a part of something bigger."gillian farinella, a first-year student majoring in digital media arts
Networking is a big deal for me. I want to make very good connections with people [during my time at St. Thomas], and learn more about the school and what it offers."dom krenz, a first-year student studying business communications
March Through the Arches is a cool way to symbolize starting the whole college experience and going from not being a college student to now being at a university and doing everything that comes along with that."greg bittle, a first-year student majoring in english, creative writing or journalism