As freshman Hannah Schwartz put it: "I love that you get to become part of the tradition."
That tradition - March Through the Arches to welcome the university's newest, incoming class of students - brought the St. Thomas community together Tuesday on the lower quad of the St. Paul campus. Hundreds of students, faculty and staff lined the sidewalks to applaud the class of 2021, which represents 30 countries, 28 states and 424 high schools. With 1,397 new bachelor-seeking students, 242 new transfer students and 107 new Dougherty Family College students, the line of students marching went on for more than 10 minutes.
The festivities, which included a welcome assembly inside Schoenecker Arena and a picnic on John P. Monahan Plaza, capped a full slate of Welcome Days activities from Sept. 1-5. The Newsroom was on hand to talk with students, faculty and staff about what makes March Through the Arches such a special part of every fall at St. Thomas.
"It's a profound thing. I love being part of this ritual where freshman are welcomed into our community. ... And I like the hamburgers." - Cynthia Sarver, assistant director of Social Innovation Collaboratory
"We want to be welcoming. We want to show we support you." - Anna Starks, junior
"When you pass through the arches at St. Thomas, you become part of a learning community that Archbishop John Ireland started in 1885. ... We all welcome you into the St. Thomas community." - Provost Richard Plumb
"The next four years of your life will be full of friendships and life-changing events. ... It's a great day to be a Tommie." - Ryan Foster, senior and student body president, during the welcome assembly
"We welcome you to this community. ... You will find challenge, but you will also find support as you pursue your dreams." - Father Larry Snyder, Vice President of Mission
"I really like it; I like the unity. Everyone feels together." - Jacolby Krebsbach, freshman
"Remember those walls I built, well, baby they're tumbling down. They didn't even put up a fight, they didn't even make a sound. ... I can feel your halo, halo, halo, I can see your halo, halo, halo." - Summit Singers, performing during the welcome assembly
"There's a lot of enthusiasm at the beginning of every school year, and this is a great way to show it. ... It sure is a lot of purple." - Chemistry professor Tony Borgerding
"Go, Tommies, go Tommies, go!" - Caruso's Crew
"The atmosphere here is pretty cool. It's very energetic." - Vlad Vechar, freshman
"It's great to see freshmen coming in and borrow some of their enthusiasm. It's a great ritual." - First-year chemistry faculty Codrina Popesc
"It's nice they have everything going on (with welcome days) to help meet new people. ... And today, the arch march is really cool. This is the only place that has these so it's nice to have it as ours." - Sydney Lewellyn, freshman