College welcomes one of its largest first-year classes

MIDDLEBURY — The fall semester at Middlebury College will open on Monday, Sept. 11, with 638 new first-year students on campus — one of the largest incoming classes in history. The college’s total expected enrollment, including undergraduates studying abroad, will be 2,753 students.
The first-year students, selected from a field of 8,910 applicants, are organized at Middlebury into five “Commons,” or living and learning communities that combine the academic, social and residential components of college life. The members of the Class of 2021 moved in on Labor Day and experienced a week of orientation leading up to the start of classes.
The members of the first-year class represent 43 states, with the largest number of new students coming from New York, followed by Massachusetts, California, Connecticut, and New Jersey. There are also 35 foreign countries represented in the class with the most international students coming from China, followed by the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan and Ethiopia.
The Class of 2021 will eventually be joined by 113 more first-year students, or “Febs,” who will arrive for orientation on Feb. 7, 2018.
The members of the incoming class gathered in Mead Chapel on Sunday evening for Convocation. Katy Smith Abbott, vice president for student affairs and dean of the college, and Greg Buckles, dean of admissions, welcomed the Class of 2021 at the traditional ceremony that marks the start of Middlebury’s academic year. Andrea Lloyd, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty, presented the faculty (attired in academic regalia) to the new students, and senior Jin-Mi Sohn, president of the Student Government Association, welcomed the incoming class on behalf of the student body.
President Laurie L. Patton, now in her third year at the helm of the 217-year-old institution, delivered the Convocation Address. In addition, returning students read selections from the New Testament, the Qur’an, the Bhagavad Gita, the Hebrew Bible, Euripides, Toni Morrison, and other “Words of Wisdom” as a way to commence the 2017-8 academic year.
Middlebury has one new program, a double major in teacher licensure for students planning to teach at either the elementary or secondary level. The new academic year will also mark the culmination of the two-year Envisioning Middlebury process. The series of facilitated conversations, guest speakers, panel discussions, and community surveys will lead to the creation of a new strategic plan that will embrace all of Middlebury’s schools, programs and campuses around the globe.
Thirteen new tenure-track faculty members and 18 new instructors in non-tenure-track positions have joined the faculty this year. Vice President Lloyd called them “an extraordinarily talented group,” and added, “We are thrilled to welcome them to campus, especially for their enthusiasm for and creative ideas about the liberal arts.”
Among the many events on the calendar for the 2017–18 academic year at Middlebury are the Clifford Symposium Sept. 21–23, Fall Family Weekend Oct. 13–15, Homecoming Weekend Oct. 27–29, and the International Politics and Economics Symposium Nov. 10.

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