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Stanford welcomes Class of 2016 and incoming transfer students

Tuesday is "move-in day" for freshmen and transfer students. In the late afternoon, President John Hennessy and other campus dignitaries will welcome the new students and their families at the 122nd Opening Convocation Ceremony in the Main Quad. It also is the first day of New Student Orientation for freshmen and transfer students.

L.A. Cicero Students welcoming incoming freshmen in September, 2011.

The incoming students hail from every state except Rhode Island and from 56 countries.

The campus will come alive Tuesday morning as 1,768 freshmen and 31 transfer students move into their dorm rooms, ably assisted by hundreds of volunteers – students, staff and alumni – wearing red T-shirts that say: Like the Way I Move?

The new students come from 49 U.S states – Rhode Island not included – and 56 countries.

Among 31 incoming transfer students are five veterans – of the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps – and four international students.

Most of the freshmen – 1,108 – will be moving into Stern and Wilbur halls (Escondido Road) on the east side of campus.

The remaining freshmen will make their homes in the center and on the west side of campus; residences include Muwekma-Tah-Ruk (near Braun Music Center), Florence Moore Hall (Mayfield Avenue), Roble Hall, Lagunita Court and Governor's Corner, which hosts Freshman-Sophomore College (Santa Teresa Street).

At the same time, transfer students will be moving into Kimball Hall and Mirrielees House (Escondido Road), and into Escondido Village (students with spouses, partners and/or children, or those who are older than traditional undergraduate age).

Class of 2016 by the numbers

The largest group of incoming students – 38.1 percent – graduated from California high schools.

The next top five regions represented in the class are the South (15.1 percent); international students and U.S. students who completed high school studying abroad (9.7 percent); the Mid-Atlantic (9.2 percent); Far West – Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Hawaii (8 percent); and the Mid-West (7.8 percent). The other regions are Mountain States (6.3 percent); New England (3.7 percent); and the Great Plains (1.8 percent).

Within the incoming freshmen class, 90.5 percent are U.S. citizens and 2.1 percent are permanent residents of the United States. International students with foreign visas comprise 7.4 percent of the incoming class.

The Class of 2016 is composed of 52.8 percent men and 47.2 percent women.

Among the incoming freshmen, 13.3 percent are first-generation students – the first in their families to attend a four-year college.

Within the Class of 2016, 13.1 percent of the freshmen are intercollegiate athletes.

Whites make up 36.1 percent of incoming freshmen, followed by students who identify as Asian American (22.7 percent); African American (8 percent); unknown – those who declined to state their race or ethnicity (7.7 percent); international (7.5 percent); Mexican American (7.4 percent); other Hispanic (6.5 percent); and Native American and Hawaiian (4.1 percent).

They're smart, of course.

Eighty-nine percent of the incoming frosh achieved a 3.8 or higher grade-point average in high school, and 94.2 percent of them ranked in the top 10 percent of their high school graduating class. The median SAT scores of incoming freshmen are 730 for critical reasoning, 740 for math and 740 for writing.

Asked what fields they're primarily interested in at present, 26.9 percent said the natural sciences, followed by engineering (21.9 percent); pre-professional – pre-law and pre-medicine (17.4 percent); humanities (16.5 percent); social sciences (11.5 percent); undecided (4.1 percent); and Earth sciences (1.6 percent).

Transfer students by the numbers

The 31 transfer students arriving at Stanford on Tuesday range in age from 18 to 28.

The group includes 19 students who transferred from public institutions and eight who transferred from private institutions. It also includes eight international students.

Eighteen of the transfer students graduated from community colleges.

Twelve come from outside California.

The academic, civic and professional accomplishments of the transfer students are many and varied.

One student left the United States to study Arabic in Egypt for six years. Another student is an intellectual feminist in her native Afghanistan. One student is a former professional figure skater. Another student was a full-time intelligence analyst with the U.S. military and was twice deployed to Iraq. One student went on an expedition to Svalbard (near the North Pole) to study culture and geography around the Global Seed Vault. Another student founded the Common Roots Project to educate college students on environmental issues.

Time to learn how to sing 'Hail, Stanford, Hail'

President John Hennessy will welcome the new students and their families and friends on Tuesday afternoon at the 122nd Opening Convocation Ceremony – the formal inauguration of the academic year – from 4 to 5:15 p.m. in the Main Quad.

The audience also will hear from Harry Elam Jr., vice provost for undergraduate education; Richard H. Shaw, dean of undergraduate admission and financial aid; and Morgan Duffy, a senior majoring in human biology.

It will be the first time during the 2012-13 academic year that the sound of "Hail, Stanford Hail," will ring out from the Main Quad as the audience – led by student soloists – sings the anthem at the end of the program. The words are included in the program, which has a wooden handle and doubles as a fan in hot weather.

New Student Orientation

Tuesday, Sept. 18, also is the first day of New Student Orientation (NSO), a six-day schedule of events and programs – morning, afternoon and evening – designed to introduce new students to the academic, social and cultural life of Stanford.

NSO will include a week of tours, open houses, placement exams, Q&As with academic advisers, faculty talks, panel discussions and religious observances. It also will include entertainment: a theater and drama showcase, a "Super Sweet '16 New Student Party" and a live concert by We The Kings, a pop-punk group from Florida.

During "Discover Stanford," panelists John Etchemendy, provost; Elam; and Dean of Freshmen Rob Urstein, who also is director of undergraduate advising and research, will talk about how making good decisions from the start will provide a strong foundation for the entire four years at Stanford.

This year's "First Lecture" will feature celebrated poet Eavan Boland, a Stanford professor and director of the Creative Writing Program, who will talk about the purpose of a liberal education and how students will become more than their majors.

"Discover Stanford," "First Lecture" and "Faces of Community," which features reflection, narratives, dance and music by current Stanford students, will be held in Memorial Auditorium and simulcast next door in Pigott Theater.

NSO also features faculty members talking about their experiences forging their academic trails, conducting research and working with undergraduates; talks include:

  • In Praise of Cartoon Physics, by Scott Bukatman, professor of art and art history
  • Social Networking, From Gutenberg to Zuckerberg, by Dan Edelstein, associate professor of French
  • Architecture + Place + Politics = Education, by John Barton, director of the architectural design program
  • Global Challenges, Nanoscale Solutions: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, by Jennifer Dionne, assistant professor of materials science and engineering
  • How We Learn Languages: Exploring the Minds of Children, by Anne Fernald, the Josephine Knotts Knowles Professor of Human Biology

In addition, NSO includes a "Sonic Scavenger Hunt," in which freshmen and transfer students will check out a device pre-loaded with the apps that are part of the Three Books selection and embark on a journey to gather sounds from across campus.

NSO will end Sunday afternoon with the annual Three Books roundtable discussion, followed by conversations in the dorms about the texts. This year's discussions will focus on a book, a 2007 documentary film and three iPhone apps.

The speakers will be Chuck Klosterman, author of Fargo Rock City: A Heavy Metal Odyssey in Rural Nörth Daköta; Michael Kimmelman, architecture critic for the New York Times, who appears in a special-features commentary on the DVD My Kid Could Paint That; and Ge Wang, assistant professor of music at Stanford and co-founder of Smule Inc., which created the MadPad, Ocarina and I Am T-Pain iPhone apps.