Stanford welcomes the Class of 2015

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 121st Opening Convocation Ceremony in the Main Quad. Tuesday also is the first day of New Student Orientation week.

L.A. Cicero Student with suitcases walking on campus

Incoming students are coming from all 50 states and from 52 countries.

Expect a procession of cars making their way to residence halls on the east and west sides of campus on Tuesday, as 1,709 freshmen and nearly four dozen transfer students – toting family members and possessions – arrive for "move-in day."

The new students come from all 50 states and from 52 countries.

The incoming group of transfer students includes nine veterans – Army, Navy and Marines – and five international students.

"The incoming freshmen and transfer students are great students and amazing people who have demonstrated a deep passion for learning," said Bob Patterson, director of admission at Stanford. "We are excited about the contributions they will make on and off the Farm."

Most of the freshmen – about 1,100 – will move into residence halls – with the help of hundreds of student volunteers – on the east side of campus, including Stern, Wilbur and Kimball halls.

The rest of the freshmen will be moving into residence halls on the west side, including Florence Moore Hall, Roble Hall and Lagunita Court.

The Class of 2015 by the numbers

Thirty-nine percent of the Class of 2015 graduated from California high schools.

The other top five regions represented in the class are the South (15 percent), international students and U.S. students who completed high school studying abroad (11 percent); the Mid-Atlantic (9 percent); Far West – Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Hawaii – (7.5 percent) and the Midwest  (7 percent). Those regions are followed by the Mountain States (6 percent), New England (3 percent) and the Great Plains (2 percent).

Within the incoming freshman class, 91.6 percent are U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the United States, and 8.4 percent are international students with foreign visas.

The Class of 2015 is composed of 52.5 percent men and 47.5 percent women.

Sixteen percent of the freshmen are first-generation students – the first in their families to attend a four-year college.

Whites make up 30.6 percent of the Class of 2015, followed by students who identify as Asian American (22.4 percent); African American (10.6 percent); Mexican American (8.7 percent); international students (8.4 percent); other Hispanic (6.7 percent); Native American and Hawaiian (4.7 percent); and unknown (8 percent).

They're smart, of course. Ninety-two percent of the Class of 2015 ranked in the top 10 percent of their high school graduating classes. And 87.5 percent achieved GPAs of 3.8 or higher in high school.

Asked what fields they were primarily interested in at present, 25 percent of the Class of 2015 said natural sciences, followed by engineering (21 percent); pre-professional fields – pre-law and pre-medicine – (18 percent); humanities (17 percent); social sciences (12 percent) undecided (5 percent); and earth sciences (2 percent).

Transfer students by the numbers

The 47 transfer students arriving at Stanford on Tuesday range in age from 19 to 32.

Twenty of the transfer students graduated from community colleges. One transfer student graduated from Deep Springs College, a two-year, all-male liberal arts college located on a cattle-ranch and alfalfa farm in California's High Desert.

The group includes 30 students who transferred from public institutions and 15 who transferred from private institutions.

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

One of the incoming students served as the chief technology officer of Medic Mobile; another worked to improve education in the slums of Bangkok. One of the incoming transfer students served as a project officer for Singapore's Economic Development Board; another served as a project management intern at the National Football League. One worked as a professional photographer; another worked on an organic barley farm in Iceland during a gap year.

Time to sing "Hail, Stanford Hail"

President John Hennessy will welcome the new students and their families on Tuesday afternoon at the 121st Opening Convocation Ceremony – the formal inauguration of the academic year – in the Main Quad from 4-5:15 p.m.

The audience also will hear from Harry Elam Jr., vice provost for undergraduate education; Richard Shaw, dean of undergraduate admission and financial aid; and Michael Tubbs, a Truman scholar and member of the Class of 2012.

It will be the first time during the new 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 university's anthem at the end of the program.

New Student Orientation

Tuesday, Sept. 20, 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. And fun, of course, including swing dancing, a drama showcase, and a return appearance by Victor Wooten, a Grammy Award-winning bass player.

During "Discover Stanford," panelists John Etchemendy, provost; Elam ; and Julie Lythcott-Haims, dean of freshmen and undergraduate advising, will talk about how making good decisions from the start will provide a strong foundation for the entire four years at Stanford.

For the first time, New Student Orientation will feature the First Lecture, a talk by author and School of Medicine Professor Abraham Verghese on Thursday morning, Sept. 22, in Memorial Auditorium.

This year's program also features faculty members talking about their journeys – often circuitous – that led them into academia, including:

  • From Chemist to Historian: Or, How to Listen for Your True Calling, by Priya Satia, associate professor of Modern British History;
  • From Led Zeppelin to Soren Kierkegaard: An Intellectual Rags-to-Riches Story, by Brent Sockness, associate professor of religious studies;
  • A Not Quite, but Apparently, Random Walk into a Career, by Hank Greely, law professor and director of the Stanford Center for Law and the Biosciences;
  • From the European Enlightenment to the Global Cold War – Via African American Studies, by Vaughn Rasberry, assistant professor of English; and
  • My Winding Road to Earthquake Country, by Eric Dunham, assistant professor of geophysics.

This year, there is no football game scheduled during New Student Orientation, but there will be soccer games: Stanford Men's Soccer vs. Harvard at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 23; Stanford Women's Soccer vs. the University of Arizona at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24; and Stanford Men's Soccer vs. the University of Vermont at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 25.

New Student Orientation will end Sunday afternoon with the annual Three Books roundtable discussion with the authors of the books assigned for summer reading. The discussion will be moderated by Scott Sagan, professor of political science, who chose "war ethics" as the theme for this year's Three Books program.