After a quiet and hot summer, Ring Road came alive during the last week of August as students flocked back to campus for the University's 127th academic year.
On August 29, with the help of student-athletes, faculty, staff, and their families, 750 first-year students moved into Balsam and Spruce residential halls. The University expects 2,800 students in total to live on campus this semester.
The incoming Class of 2026 consists of 1,350 undergraduate students – a three-year high. The undergraduate class is represented by 49% students of color. The University also welcomed 500 graduate students from across the country and around the world.
UMass Law continued its upward trajectory of increased enrollment and academic quality, welcoming the strongest incoming class in its institutional history. The median LSAT and the median undergraduate GPA among entering students increased. The Commonwealth's only public law school also grew enrollment for the sixth consecutive year to more than 380 total students, up from 186 when it received full ABA accreditation in 2016.
"We are building momentum across campus through new student engagement initiatives, building renovations, prestigious faculty research awards, and student learning accomplishments. This robust incoming class is proof that the UMass Dartmouth story is being heard," said Chancellor Mark Fuller.
"The entering class is representative of the great work going on across campus to recruit new students to UMass Dartmouth and build a robust experience for years to come," said Jim Anderson, Vice Chancellor of Enrollment Management.
After move-in, first-year students participated in a long-time UMassD tradition – the Corsair Olympics. Participants split up into teams based on their residence halls. There was also a commuter student team - who WON! Students engaged in competitions ranging from board games to kickball to a dance competition.
The academic year officially began with Student Convocation on August 31, an event that features new students hearing encouraging words and advice from university leadership, faculty mentors, and student leaders at the beginning of their higher education journey.
At Convocation, faculty speaker Professor Jennifer Mulnix told students, "College is transformational – you will not be the same person when you leave as you are sitting here today. College is an opportunity to learn what it means to live well and develop the tools to succeed at doing so; to enlarge the self, figure out purpose, develop connections; and become involved in ways that prepare and empower you to live according to your values and help others and improve your communities."
On September 1, students began their first day of fall semester classes and continued to pursue their educational, professional, and personal ambitions.