Good afternoon! Welcome to the 1612 members of the Class of 2023 and 66 transfer students. My name is Susan Garrity Ardizzoni and I have served as Director of Admissions for the past 12 years and this summer served as the interim Dean of Admissions.
Many of us in the admissions office refer to Matriculation Day as the best day of the year – seriously! We’ve spent more than a year thinking, planning, communicating, gently nudging, meeting, Jumbo Daysing (is that a word??) with and about you – and now you are finally here, ready to embark on this exciting adventure.
The Class of 2023 has some firsts – in a few days, Tisch College will be sending a group of students to Peru for the inaugural Tufts Civic Semester program. We are eager for these 12 students to return in January and share their adventure with our community. Our cohort of BFA candidates stands at 70 and our students in Engineering number 274 – both are records! And the women enrolled in our School of Engineering number 138, which puts the class at just above 50% women.
Many have been asking – what is special about this incoming class? In addition to your impressive academic chops, extracurricular interests that encompass the arts, music, theater, athletics, journalism, social justice – and more – I think your reasons for selecting Tufts help pull the story together.
A young woman who wants to study biomedical engineering “…would like to join a science and technology club so I can share my passion for engineering with children. Inspiring children to push past their limits and risk failure will lead them to groundbreaking achievements.”
When asked about what ExCollege class would you teach, this student “…would teach a class on tolerance in American politics with the goal of promoting two-sided discussion. As my peers and I enter the electorate of this country, we must be willing not only to talk, but to listen.”
And finally, a Combined Degree student enrolled in the 5-year BFA/BA program was “…drawn to Tufts for the academic freedom that its interdisciplinary program provides. As a lover of environmental studies and art, the fact that I don't have to choose just one major and instead, can opt for a combined degree, excites me. I picture starting my day in an 'Art and Action' class at SMFA and then attending an Environmental Studies 'Lunch & Learn' talk on the Medford Campus, satisfying my innate curiosity for the two fields of study.”
Like me, 176 members of Class of 2023 are the first in their family to head off to college. 44 states (which include North Dakota and West Virginia) plus DC and Puerto Rico are represented. California continues its third place slot among states most represented in the class.
203 are foreign citizens with citizenships from 82 countries that include Albania, Finland, Montenegro, Paraguay and Zambia (those 5 countries have not been represented in an entering class in more than a few years) along with Myanmar where a new student keeps the country represented after her brother graduated last May! There are more than 56 different languages spoken in the homes of the Class of 2023.
More than a 1000 different high schools are represented in the class, with 710 the sole representatives from their high schools. I think the Tufts community should get ready for what this new class will add to its classrooms, dining halls and residential experience!
I have a final thought and it’s for the parents. I’m five days away from where you are sitting – my husband and I dropped our daughter off last Friday for her freshman year of college. That day was a delicate dance of practical things (lofting the bed, once last run to Bed, Bath, and Beyond) with the looming goodbye that was fast approaching. Keep on your sunglasses (I haven’t had mine off very much) and give one last good hug that will have to last.
During our drive on Friday, our daughter read Dr. Seuss’ Oh, the Places You'll Go out loud. I will admit I had never read this (and thought it was just a graduation gift for show). Boy, was I wrong! I thought this last part of the book was a perfect way to end my remarks – here goes:
be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea
you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting
So….get on your way!”
Once again, welcome to the Class of 2023 and transfer students – we can’t wait to see the great places you will go!