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Friday, April 19, 2024
The Observer

Saint Mary's welcomes class of 2026 to campus

This semester the Saint Mary’s community will welcome about 400 first-year and 18 transfer students to campus. When classes begin next week, the College will host a total of 1,308 undergraduate students and 105 graduate students. 

 There will be a 5% increase in first-year students from 2021, which had 380 students and 14 transfer students.

Saint Mary’s received a total of 2,254 first year applications, with nearly 7% applying as Early Decision. 

Director of admission Sarah Gallagher Dvorak conveyed her pride for her alma mater.

 “As an alumna of Saint Mary’s, I couldn’t be more proud to serve as the Director of Admission and to watch the exciting trajectory of the College,” Gallagher Dvorak said. 

Gallagher Dvorak also expressed excitement about the incoming first-year class.

“I am thrilled to welcome such a talented class to campus this fall and to watch them grow and develop these next four years,” she said. “There’s no better time for them to start their journeys at Saint Mary’s. Under the leadership of President Katie Conboy, we have established a Strategic Plan and have renewed our commitment to ‘meeting the needs of the times’ — expanding the boundaries of who we are and imagining in fresh ways who we can be. There is such tremendous momentum and growth at the College, and it’s exciting to be a part of it.”

 The incoming first-year class possessed an average GPA of 3.85, which remains the same as last year’s class average.

The class of 2026 includes students from 28 of 50 states, with 37% living in state and 63% living out of state. There are also four international students coming from Kenya, Canada, Nigeria and Tanzania. 

“They come from as far away as Kenya and Nigeria, as far north as Canada, as far west as California, as far south as Texas, all up and down the east coast and all over the Midwest,” Gallagher Dvorak said. 

In addition, Gallagher Dvorak discussed the range of talent of this year’s incoming class.

“They are made up of community volunteers, athletes, leaders, entrepreneurs and founders of their own businesses, creatives, artists and world travelers,” she said. “We have someone ranked twenty-third in the world as an Irish dance soloist and another who is ranked seventh in the nation. We have a junior firefighter and an accomplished ballet dancer. Incredibly impressive!”

 Overall, 66% of the class of 2026 were involved in some type of sport in high school and 27% were captains of their teams. 

Additionally, 21% of the class are musicians, 15% were involved in theater, 8% are dancers and 7% were involved in art clubs in high school. 

22% of the class of 2026 are students of color and 26% are first-generation college students. In addition, 29% of students have a legacy connection, meaning that at least one of their close family members went to Saint Mary’s College. 

Gallagher Dvorak spoke on the importance of diversity in Saint Mary’s classrooms.

“All students benefit from the ability to learn from peers who may not think exactly the same and who come from different experiences, cultures and backgrounds,” she said. “Our classrooms are enriched by the diversity of thought our students bring into class discussions. Exposure to diversity is something that benefits all Saint Mary’s students as it forces them to expand their intellectual and personal understanding of the world.” 

Gallagher Dvorak finished by discussing her hopes for the incoming class of first-years and transfer students. 

“I wish for our incoming students that they enter this next chapter at Saint Mary’s with an open and curious mind, a willingness to venture outside their comfort zones and that nine months from now, they’ll be looking back on a year filled with personal and intellectual growth, new friends and experiences and lots of fun,” she said.