When faculty and staff arrive on campus tomorrow morning the Farm will have a distinctly festive air. There will be lots of horn honking and "woo-hoos," red-and-white balloon arrangements and welcome signs – some handmade, others fresh from the printer.
Tuesday, Sept. 15, is move-in day for the Class of 2019. The university will roll out the cardinal carpet for 1,722 freshmen and 15 transfer students.
Stanford's newly minted freshmen represent 49 states and 66 countries. The largest contingent of first-year students – 32.9 percent – hails from California. About 12 percent are international students and U.S. citizens living abroad. Slightly more than half of the freshmen are male – 50.5 percent – while 49.5 percent are female. More than 95 percent ranked in the top 10 percent of their high school class. Fifteen percent are first-generation college students.
The new transfer students include one veteran who served as a crew member for the U.S. Navy Dragon Boat Team and taught battlefield medical courses. Another is a U.S. Marine veteran who served three tours of duty in Iraq and received a certificate of commendation for his service in Fallujah. Another transfer student is one of only five international officers for Phi Theta Kappa, the world's largest and most prestigious honor society for two-year college students.
Almost 36 percent of the incoming freshmen say they are interested in engineering; nearly 23 percent have an academic interest in the natural sciences; 17.7 percent have expressed an interest in the humanities.
But before they get to their majors, Stanford's incoming students all have a bit of acclimating to do, which is what the six days of New Student Orientation (NSO) are all about.
As Stanford tradition dictates, residence staff and orientation volunteers have crammed over the summer to memorize every new resident's name and likeness, so that each new student arrives to a hearty personal greeting. NSO staff will be on hand Tuesday to help carry luggage, stuffed animals and other items to make students' dorm rooms a bit like home.
Once students secure their essentials – ID cards, room and post office box keys – and meet their roommates for the first time, they will have a chance to explore campus life. Events on Tuesday include open houses, receptions and information sessions at community centers; information tables on White Plaza and tours at the visitor center; a welcome at Windhover contemplation center and more.
Parents and family members partake in many of these move-in day activities as well as programs and resources designed to provide them with their own one-day immersion into Stanford's rich intellectual life and cultural traditions.
The day culminates with the 125th Opening Convocation Ceremony, which takes place on the Inner Quad at 4 p.m. President John Hennessy will welcome incoming students, their families and friends at the formal opening of the academic year. The Rev. Jane Shaw, dean for religious life, will offer the invocation. The audience also will hear from Harry J. Elam Jr., vice provost for undergraduate education, and Richard H. Shaw, dean of undergraduate admission and financial aid. Jordan Shapiro, who earned a bachelor's degree in bioengineering in June and is currently a graduate student in management science and engineering and in business, will offer student remarks.
Following Convocation, parents and family members say goodbye to their students and head for dinner with Provost John Etchemendy. New students head back to their dorms for "Welcome Home" activities and their first house meetings.
NSO continues for five more days, with activities designed to engage students intellectually and socially. NSO programs include discussions about alcohol, sexual behavior and relationships, religious life and personal identity. Among the programs focused on academic life is the First Lecture featuring Margot Gerritsen, associate professor of energy resources engineering, who will talk about the purpose of a liberal education. Later in the week President Hennessy will moderate the Three Books program panel discussion. This year's summer reading assignments for new students were This Boy's Life by Tobias Wolff, Cane River by Lalita Tademy and The Innovators by Walter Isaacson.
Undergraduate housing opens for returning students Thursday, Sept. 17, and classes begin Monday, Sept. 21.