Last Tuesday was move-in day for the Class of 2025! The Student Affairs and Resources team, including so many amazing student leaders and led by Associate Dean of Student Affairs Seth Hodge, planned a fantastic introduction to Olin, beginning with the Welcome Lunch. At the lunch, I had the great pleasure of welcoming the new class and introducing them to each other and the greater Olin community. We were warm under the tent, but the food from Rebecca’s Café, our dining services, was amazing and folks’ smiles were bright! We couldn’t have asked for better weather, but rain or shine move-in day is one of my favorite days of the year. An excerpt of my welcome speech is below. I hope you enjoy getting to know the Olin College Class of 2025!
Hey 2025! It gives me so much JOY to welcome you PHYSICALLY to campus, to welcome you as Oliners. Candidates’ Week, and Candidates’ Weekends for my friends who are joining us from a gap year, feel like a lifetime ago or maybe even another planet, but here you are: on campus, together in the Oval, starting your Olin journey.
My job today is to present you, the mighty Class of 2025, to each other and to the Olin community. As I got to know you through your applications and at Candidates’ Week and Weekends, I was floored: your preparation and potential rival any top college and university. Beyond academic statistics: you are creative and innovative and funny and- maybe most importantly- kind. All of this shone through despite the significant impacts on a high school experience altered by the pandemic and ever adapting and evolving conditions beyond your control. You faced incredible obstacles and uncertainty, but though it was difficult, you showed up. You are truly the mighty Class of 2025. You- and your families and guests- should be extremely proud!
The Class of 2025 represents students from a beautiful range of backgrounds, perspectives, identities, and cultures. In a field historically dominated by men, a powerful 53% of you are not. You represent 26 states and for perhaps the first time in Olin’s history our home state of Massachusetts beat out California for the top spot! You represent six countries outside the US by home address and eight of you are dual citizens. Ten of you are first-generation college students (just like me!). Forty-nine percent of you are students of color and 15% belong to races or ethnicities historically excluded from higher education. You attended public schools, independent schools, religious schools, and charter schools. You will bring your experiences and perspectives into the classroom, the dining hall, and the residence halls to learn from and with each other.
We are proud to call all of you Oliners, and while your academic and demographic metrics are striking, it is your personalities, your interests, your Olin-ness, that makes you extraordinary and is what led us to choose you. Every offer of admission at Olin is a choice, an affirmation of who you are and what you bring to the college and community. You are all Olin, #OurOlin. And…
- You are altruistic: more than three quarters of you participated in community service and at least six of you founded non-profits. So many of you found ways to give and teach and serve and support over the last year.
- You are leaders: nearly half of you captained an academic team, twelve of you led athletic teams, seven were editors of school publications, one was President of Student government, with another twelve of you serving in other student government roles, and four of you earned either your Eagle Scout rank or Gold Award.
- You are athletic: 52% of you played at least one sport.
- You must be excited to cook together in the residence hall kitchens because so many of you love to bake or learned to cook from a close relative or Zoom class during the pandemic.
- You are entrepreneurial: at least seven of you founded a business.
- You are scholarly: at least fourteen of you did research at a university or company.
- You are makers! Oh my the projects you told us about- there are too many to name! And I’m sure you won’t be surprised to know that Olin’s emphasis on projects and hands-on learning is collectively the most important factor in your choice to attend Olin.
- You are creative: among the Class of 2025 you will find musicians both instrumental and vocal, dancers, actors, directors, choreographers, creative writers, sculptors, knitters, furniture makers and visual artists of all kinds with new instruments, media, genres, and styles emerging for you since March of 2020.
- You are responsible: nearly 60% of you held a job in high school and your commitment to your families and households (all the time but especially throughout the pandemic) is incredible: several of you were primary caregivers for family members or neighbors, others expanded or donned new roles as chief tutor or proctor for your siblings and cousins, or dinner chef, or household IT manager, or laundry captain.
- Many of you love robotics!! A solid 62% of you did competitive robotics in high school, with lots of your teams finding creative ways to stay connected even when competitions were cancelled. And number of you founded teams for younger students or you brought STEM into schools and to populations historically excluded from the field. You are changing the future face of engineering, too.
- You are active advocates for what you believe in: through political organizations, environmental organizations, human rights organizations, and more. And ten of you honed your persuasive skills in speech and debate. These passions and skills will serve you well as you engage as active and critical citizens of the world and engineers who consider the context and ethics of their work.
That list is remarkable and intimidating, I know. Over the last two years, many of us did all we could just to survive and that is a victory, that too is to be celebrated. I see you- each of you, and I know every one of you 92 amazing souls in the Class of 2025 has so much to contribute to Olin, only matched by the incredible things you will learn and ways you will grow here.
To a person, you showed remarkable grace, creativity, resolve, and resilience throughout the pandemic. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t hard. Yet, the applications I read had hope. You found ways to connect with your communities and schools and the greater world, perhaps made a little smaller by increased engagement in the virtual space. You connected virtually with each other over Candidates’ Week and the Pre-Orientation Summer Experience in truly beautiful and extraordinary ways.
Again, we are proud to call you Oliners and I can’t wait to see what you do here, together. Welcome to Olin, Class of 2025!