University of Vermont

University Communications

Entering Class Most Talented, Diverse in UVM History

Release Date: 08-29-2008

Author: Jeffrey R. Wakefield
Phone: 802/656-2005 Fax: (802) 656-3203

The most talented and diverse group of first-year students in University of Vermont history began moving into campus residence halls on Friday. Classes for all students begin September 2.

The approximately 2,450 first-year students, from 38 states and 10 countries, have an average combined SAT score, in reading, math, and writing, of 1,775, 18 points higher than last year and a UVM record. The combined reading and math score, corresponding to the earlier SAT format, is also a record. The approximated size of the class is identical to last year's entering class, the largest in UVM history.

ALANA (Asian-American, Latino, African-American, Native American, and multi-racial) students will account for eight percent of the incoming class, the highest percentage ever at UVM. The incoming class includes about 630 Vermonters, approximately the same number as 2007.

The total number of undergraduate, graduate, post-baccalaureate, medical and non-degree students enrolling at UVM this fall is expected to exceed last year's record total of 12,239.

Students will celebrate the beginning of the academic year at the university's convocation ceremony on Monday, Sept. 1 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in Patrick Gymnasium. The candlelight induction ceremony is just one of the events students will participate in over Opening Weekend, an annual program that helps acquaint new students to college life.

After convocation, which will also include remarks from campus leadership, participants are invited to process down Main Street to a candlelight induction ceremony for first-year students on the Campus Green. The featured speaker is bestselling author Ron Suskind. His talk will be based on his 1998 work, A Hope in the Unseen: An American Odyssey from the Inner City to the Ivy League, the true story of a talented African American teenager and his determination to escape the ghetto and achieve a top college education. The book is based on a Wall Street Journal series that won Suskind a Pulitzer Prize for feature writing.

Several new majors and programs also start this fall. The "Writing in the Disciplines" program, directed by new faculty member Susan Marie Harrington, will offer workshops and personalized consultations for faculty in academic departments across the university for teaching writing. The program "will assist faculty in (re)designing courses and assignments, helping them think about ways they teach writing and the ways writing can help demonstrate what students are learning," Harrington said.

Majors in Chinese and Japanese languages will also be offered this year for the first time.

A number of groundbreakings and renovations occurred over the summer. Ground was broken on the James M. Jeffords Hall in early August. The 97,000 square foot, $55.7 million building, to be completed in March of 2010, will house programs in the departments of Plant Biology and Plant & Soil Science of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and will provide teaching labs to be used by students in life science disciplines across the university. A $5.7 million renovation of the Colchester Research Facility was completed this summer, along with a $4 million Phase I renovation of the Harris Millis Residential Complex.

In addition, the following buildings underwent exterior or full renovation this summer: Williams Hall; Billings Center; Royal Tyler Theatre Plaza; Terrill Hall; and Rowell Hall. The process of installing hardwired carbon monoxide detection systems in all of the residence halls (15 complexes) and rental housing was also completed over the summer.