Union ready to welcome the Class of 2026

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Zitomer with the We Choose U folder

Michael Zitomer is among 580 freshmen beginning their college journey as members of the Class of 2026. They were selected from nearly 8,500 applicants, a Union record.

Armed with an exceptional high school record with diverse pursuits including fly fishing, soccer, and work as a lab intern at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Zitomer applied the early decision to Union, where he plans to major in neuroscience.

He is among 580 freshmen beginning their college journey as members of the Class of 2026. They were selected from nearly 8,500 applicants, a Union record.

Students come from 33 states and the District of Columbia and 25 countries. The class is also one of the most diverse, with 9 percent international and 24 percent representing national students of color. Thirteen percent of the class are first-generation students or the first in their immediate family to attend college.

The college also saw a significant increase in the number of Pell-eligible students it enrolled, thanks to a new partnership with the Schuler Education Foundation. Union is one of the first schools selected to participate in the Schuler Access Initiativewhose goal is to enroll more underserved students in the nation’s top liberal arts colleges.

The Class of 2026 also boasts strong academic credentials, with 61 percent of its students ranking in the top 10 percent of their high school class.

“This year’s incoming class is the largest we’ve enrolled in a decade,” said Matt Malatesta ’91, vice president of Admissions, Financial Aid and Enrollment. “There is also more geographic diversity with this class, continuing a trend from recent years. Our increased virtual programming has allowed us to reach a broader audience, so more students have been exposed to the opportunities that await them at Union. Additionally, many of these students had their high school experiences significantly disrupted by the pandemic, and the value of high-quality, in-person instruction became a critical factor in their college choice.”

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Freshmen can officially move in on Saturday, September 3. Many, like Michael Zitomer, begin their college journey by participating in a pre-orientation experience. In addition to the three traditional experiences that focus on community engagement, leadership development and the outdoors, the program has expanded to offer local arts and culture and wellness options.

“We are excited to have new opportunities for students to get to campus early to network and meet other new students and student leaders with similar interests,” said Aileen Schatz, director of First-Year Experience.

While newer students spend a few days settling in, returning students move in on Tuesday, September 6.

Union campus students walking

Campus life is basically back to normal after a couple of years of pandemic-related changes. COVID tests are no longer mandatory. Social distancing is not required anywhere on campus, and masks are optional. However, all students, faculty, and staff must comply with the university’s immunization policy, which requires full vaccination and at least one booster shot. Protocols are subject to change.

The opening convocation, in which the Union community celebrates the official start of the academic year, will be held outdoors at 4 pm on Tuesday, September 6 at Roger Hull Plaza. A campus-wide barbecue will follow.

Also in the Call, Maritza Osuna, professor of Spanish, will receive the Stillman Award for Teaching Excellence in Teaching. Jillmarie Murphy, William D. Williams Professor of English and Director of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies, is the recipient of the Stillman Award for Teaching Excellence in Research.

Fall term classes begin on Wednesday, September 7th.

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