The class of 2025 is setting record-breaking University of Dallas history as the largest incoming class.
According to the university’s press release on Aug. 23, this freshman class is the most diverse student body, bringing in a 47% minority student population and 32% Hispanic. This makes for an exciting time in UD history as students begin to see a myriad of cultures integrated into the university.
The class is religiously diverse as well, with 27% of the class identifying as non-Catholic.
They travel from all over the globe to come to UD, from as close as Fort Worth and as far as India.
While 58% of students are from Texas, 42% of students are from other states and countries. These freshmen traveled five to 9,000 miles to begin their liberal arts education by reading “The Iliad” and trying to understand Homer’s obsession with fires and birds.
Freshman commuter Leila Bell, a comparative literary traditions major, values the activities she gets to participate in on campus all the more and is excited to see what UD has to offer.
Bell is especially looking forward to UD’s tradition of TGIT, and she is excited to see all the themes it has to offer, even recommending an African-American themed TGIT in honor of Black History Month during February.
“I look forward to making an impact to make [UD] more inclusive,” Bell says.
Bell loves seeing how diverse UD has gotten in contrast to her brother’s class of 2019, where people of color were scarce. First-generation students, like Bell, make up 25% of the incoming class and are changing the course of UD.
The First Generation Club stood tall at their table at the club fair on the Mall Sept. 3, ready to assist any student who had questions about how to adapt to university life, whether they were first-generation or not.
The club’s dedication to helping these students is nothing if not inspiring. Jeanine Dorrough, a senior business and English major and the leading student program coordinator of the UD mentoring program, speaks passionately on the hard work she and the mentors are putting into this program.
“I love how first-gen students are finally getting recognized in UD,” Dorrough said. “I love that this influx means that there are more first-generation students out there who finally feel like they can go to college, even if their parents could not.”
The program, she explained, went from five small groups with around 30 people total to 24 small groups with 200 students participating. She anticipates that the growth of the program is only the beginning and that there will continue to be more students who will start to feel like they can accomplish a university education.
Dorrough explained her hopes for the program, saying, “We have just started and there is more that we can do; it takes some time, though, and we are finally getting there. We are pushing for it and this program is a great start.”
Joanna Orozco, a first-generation sophomore, is already working one-on-one with the first-generation freshmen of UD. She expressed her delight in being able to work with students of different backgrounds and to help teach her small group the liberal arts education that UD values so much.
“I want to be a friend to my group and I want to be someone they can count on if they need help with schoolwork or a little confidence booster when they need to ask their teacher for help. It all comes down to wanting my mentees to feel a connection to UD and make them feel like they belong here,” said Orozco.
The first-gen club’s work to welcome the incoming freshmen to UD illustrates their dedication to the student body and the university’s excitement for the semester ahead.
Correction 8:48 p.m., Nov. 8, 2021: This article has been corrected to reflect the correct percent of non-Catholics in the class of 2025. In the freshman class, 63% of students self-reported as Catholics. Based on other indicators, 73% of the freshman class is Catholic per President Sanford. According to updated statistics, 27% of the freshman class is non-Catholic.