Diverse Freshman Class: Racial and Ethnic Minorities Represent a Record 21 Percent of Admitted Students
By Heather Brady
Over 850 students from the most diverse freshman class in Mary Washington history moved into their dorms Wednesday morning, marking the beginning of their college experience.
In what felt like 100-degree weather, sweat-soaked incoming freshmen and their parents carried belongings from their cars to their rooms, met roommates, and tried to get situated in the midst of chaos.
Cars were parked in lines along any available grassy areas near freshman residence halls, and stations with water coolers were set up in several places along campus walk and near dorm building entrances to provide temporary relief from the heat.
The freshmen moving in were joining a significantly more diverse class of students than previous Mary Washington students. The percentage of racial and ethnic diversity jumped from 16 percent to 21 percent between 2008 and 2009, according to statistics provided by the UMW Office of Admissions.
While both the gender and commuting student ratios remained fairly steady, the number of freshmen that are Virginia residents increased dramatically from 74 percent to 81 percent.
Matt Tierno, a freshman from Fairfield, Conn., drove six hours on Tuesday and stayed in Fredericksburg overnight to be ready to move in Wednesday morning. Tierno chose Mary Washington because it has “a great setting, a good location, and good people.”
Freshman Hannah Laughlin got up at 5:30 a.m. to drive to UMW from Chesapeake.
“I’m nervous about meeting new people and making new friends,” Laughlin said. “And I’m nervous about classes. I’m not so good at math and science.”
Adam Hunter and Ross Kinsman, both freshmen from Arlington, have known each other since preschool. They had no doubts about where they wanted to go to college.
“This place was the coolest by far—the most welcoming and the most well-mannered,” Hunter said.
“When I got the letter for here, [the rest of the colleges I got into] didn’t matter,” Kinsman said.
Both Hunter and Kinsman want to try many different activities to figure out what they want to be involved in, but both also have their eyes set on the men’s Ultimate Frisbee team.
Freshman Justin Thompson from Gloucester, said that he was not nervous yet.
“I’m excited about classes and everything,” Thompson said. “I want a good GPA.”
“Same here,” said Charlie Lex, Thompson’s roommate from Vienna. “I want good grades.”
Lex was more concerned than Thompson about moving in, however.
“I’m worried about forgetting something monumental, like socks,” Lex said.