Largest incoming freshman class arrives

Paige Parks, Staff Writer

The class of 2019 participated in a scavenger hunt during freshman orientation. Seated in Lynch Auditorium, the largest class watched the introduction video before the hunt began. Photo courtesy of Anthony Garnier.

The University of Dallas will welcome the class of 2019 this fall, adding exactly 399 new faces to campus, and making this year’s incoming freshman class the largest in the university’s history. This is an improvement from last year’s freshman class of 380 students. Hailing from 43 states, 270 cities, and seven countries, the class of 2019 is notable not only for its size, but also for its academic success at the high school level. With 15 national merit scholarship finalists and an average GPA of 3.81, this class is highly anticipated at UD. The majority of this year’s growth came from the academic top tier, which averages a 1396 SAT and 4.25 GPA, strengthening the academic statistics of the class of 2019. The size, however, may raise new challenges for the university.

“We need to make sure we have both enough teachers to keep class sizes small and enough opportunities to go to Rome so everyone who wants to and qualifies can,” Associate Dean of Constantin College Dr. Scott Crider said.

According to Dr. Crider, the university has already taken steps to eliminate any challenges that may result from this larger class size with the addition of new faculty members and the implementation of the summer Rome program. The Rome office has also made changes to the applications for the program in regard to preferences of semester to ensure that both semesters are fully enrolled.

“This involves an adjustment to our application procedure such that students will be assigned to a Rome semester taking into account academic and activity commitments and, when possible, personal concerns as well,” Director of Rome and Summer Programs Rebecca Davies said. “We hope to have as many students as possible take advantage of the wonderful academic, spiritual and social opportunity (sic) the UD Rome experience provides.”

As for the academic talent of the class of 2019, Dr. Crider notes that academic preparation helps students, but does not spare them from the academic rigor of UD.

“All of our students find that UD makes great demands upon us all, demands that reveal and test our limits,” Crider said. “A liberal education requires intellectual, imaginative and spiritual courage.”

Many incoming freshmen chose to attend UD because of the challenging liberal arts education that Crider described. One such student, freshman Valeria Hernandez, traveled all the way from El Salvador to become a Crusader.

“I really like the intellectual and spiritual atmosphere around campus,” Hernandez said. “However, my main reason for attending UD was the availability of having a small community for myself to provide academic success and a big city within minutes to keep me entertained.”

If the thrill of Dallas does not entertain them, the university offers many student activities on campus for the incoming class to get involved in — and for a class of overachievers such as this one, there is no telling what they will accomplish at UD.

“I hope to get involved with international groups, psychology groups and take some salsa and yoga classes.” Hernandez said. “I also hope to join Student Programming at UD and to really get involved in Charity Week.”

Dr. Crider believes that even students who do not consider themselves to be successful will discover new skills and talents at UD.

“Some of the incoming stars will be UD stars, but some students who do not even realize they are talented will also be UD stars,” Dr. Crider said.

Assistant Director of Student Activities Catherine Duplant voiced her excitement for the large incoming class. “The more students, the merrier,” Duplant said. “I am very happy to see so many exceptional students join our UD community.”

Senior Vice President for Enrollment and Student Affairs John Plotts echoed Duplant’s excitement. “It is rewarding for us to see so many outstanding young people showing interest in and ultimately attending the University of Dallas.” Plotts said.  “Our applicant pool grew by roughly 33% this year—so the word is getting out—UD is a great school!”

No matter their previous successes that they bring to the university, Dr. Crider says that the class of 2019 ultimately must take responsibility for its own future.

“The incoming class, like every other UD class, will experience a great education if it wants it,” Dr. Crider said. “But it’s got to want it.”


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