TU’s most diverse freshman class dives into campus life

Students wave welcome banners for class of 2023The University of Tulsa recently welcomed the largest domestic class in the university’s 125-year history. The class of 2023 — 820 students strong — is also the most diverse on record, with a 27% increase in first-generation students since 2017 and higher numbers of African American, Native American, Hispanic and Asian college-goers. Steven Denton, director of New Student Programs and Services, is excited to welcome the incoming class.

“They are a great mix of diversely talented students with many accomplishments in extracurricular areas, as well as in the classroom,” Denton said. “And many members of this class have already had the opportunity to bond before orientation even begins. They’re coming in with a lot more camaraderie than classes of the past.”

Summer opportunities ease the college transition

There’s no better way to forge strong friendships with a group of strangers than by embarking on an international trip together. The summertime JumpStartTU program invites 150 incoming freshmen to travel on a research-oriented trip to Panama to learn about studying abroad, gain multicultural experiences and explore global issues.

Smiling orientation leaders on move in dayTU’s new STEM Bootcamp also offered new students a chance to connect and get a head start on academic work before the first day of classes. During the two-week session, 33 students reviewed math and science skills while learning about engineering and science careers.

STEM Bootcamp Coordinator Sheila Givens said, “Our goal is to make sure that participants transition into their studies at TU with motivation and preparation and possess tools that can help them succeed to the point of graduation.”

Incoming freshman Jack Oxley participated in the camp and said he benefited from the extra prep time. “The opportunity made the transition into college a little bit easier,” he said. “I have made lots of friends, gotten comfortable with living in a dorm, familiarized myself with the school, and now I’m more comfortable than incoming freshmen generally feel. Thanks to TU, I feel more prepared to start my college career. I got out all of my stress about the college transition before orientation began.”

Welcoming the class of 2023

Loaded down with boxes and bedding, freshmen and their families were greeted with welcome signs and helping hands for move-in day on Sunday, Aug. 18. Proud TU father Chad Hoskins was all set to move his son Landry into the dormitories, but he blinked, and the car was already empty. “All the guys who helped us move in were awesome,” he added.

Sunday evening, the TU community officially welcomed the class of 2023 at matriculation. President Gerry Clancy highlighted the TU Commitment. “We want you to feel accepted. That means included, safe, valued and free to be yourself.” The theme of acceptance was woven throughout the ceremony, and orientation leaders encouraged them to seek out new experiences.

Students moving boxesComputer information systems senior Sam Trizza explained, “Self-discovery is curiosity and self-learning that can only be done in a community. When we share our hopes, visions, faiths and different points of view, we truly come to know ourselves.”

The TU fall semester kicks off Monday, Aug. 26, following a week of new student orientation that immerses all incoming students into the campus community. Known as StartTU, the week of activities and workshops includes information about TU’s timeless traditions, attending class, getting involved in student clubs and organizations, meeting new friends and preparing for the overall college experience.

Eager to join the TU family, incoming freshman Freddy Ward shared, “TU is my dream college. Everyone I know loves it here, and they call TU home.”