President Tilghman addresses freshmen and other members of the Princeton community at a Gathering of Remembrance Sept. 11 on Cannon Green.
President Tilghman addresses freshmen and other members of the Princeton community at a Gathering of Remembrance Sept. 11 on Cannon Green.
Beverly Schaefer

The 1,300 members of the Class of 2015 entered Princeton much like the students before them. They were welcomed by President Tilghman in the chapel and high-fived by upperclassmen and alumni as they walked through FitzRandolph Gate. They eagerly accepted fliers from clubs and a capella groups and paraded to the Street to visit the eating clubs.

But in many ways, their freshman orientation took place under a cloud — and not just literally, though the weather forecast moved the evening’s welcome barbecue indoors. This year’s Opening Exercises and Pre-rade fell on the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 9/11, a solemn day for the country and for a campus that lost 13 of its own. 

Before the cheering and celebration of their arrival at Princeton, students gathered with members of the community on Cannon Green for an event to commemorate the anniversary. Later in the evening, Rachael DeLue, associate professor of art and archaeology, spoke at the freshman assembly about history and memory, drawing on the newly opened World Trade Center memorial. 

During the Gathering of Remembrance, the Class of 2015 listened intently as speakers, including former Sen. Bill Bradley ’65, philosophy professor Kwame Anthony Appiah, and Chloe Wohlforth ’07, whose father, Martin ’76, died in the attacks, remembered the day. They encouraged the students to form friendships with people of many different backgrounds during their time at Princeton.

“It is not enough to honor those who died and comfort those who mourn, important though this is,” Tilghman said. “We must also recommit ourselves to ensuring that hatred and intolerance, which took devastating form on 9/11, do not find fertile ground in our midst.”

“It was very beautiful,” said Valentin Hernandez ’15, after the event. “It gives us a chance to reflect on what has changed over the last 10 years and what kind of world we’re going into as students here at Princeton.” 

The Class of 2015, the most diverse class in the University’s history, with students from 46 countries and a record 496 U.S. minority students, appears ready to take on the challenge of breaking boundaries — beginning with their new roommates.

“I’m in an eight-person suite, and my roommates are all from very different backgrounds,” said Kip Orban ’15. “It’s good to learn from them.” 

“Everyone you meet here has an interesting story and is from somewhere cool,” said Eric Sanschagrin ’15.

Orban and Sanschagrin, both members of the lacrosse team, said that they had been greeted by their teammates as soon as they arrived, which made them feel welcomed on campus immediately. 

Other communities also had begun to form. About 500 incoming graduate students took part in an expanded orientation program Sept. 12. The full day of events included remarks by Tilghman; panels on topics such as the financial landscape, success in research, and mentoring; a barbecue; and a session to learn “Old Nassau.”

Community Action and Outdoor Action saw 143 and 790 freshmen participate, respectively, and OA groups, which returned to campus early because of Tropical Storm Lee, quickly discovered the power of bonding through cold and wet misery (see story, page 13). With the help of RCAs, members of the Class of 2015 also came together in “zee” (residential advisee) groups and residential colleges.

During Opening Exercises, as Tilghman offered advice about navigating a world in which information is just a click away, freshmen decked out in their residential college T-shirts exploded in cheers when their colleges were mentioned.

“Every time you hear your college, you scream,” said Ola Oladosu ’15. “It’s a real sense of belonging.”

Mathey College students were the loudest, perhaps cheered on by their first-place tie with Forbes at the Clash of the Colleges event the night before.

At the event, a new tradition, the residential colleges competed in relay races and with cheers and chants written by their RCAs. A panel of judges, including Tilghman, scored their performance at Dillon Gym.

“We really wanted the students to start forming a college identity,” said Matt Frawley, Mathey College director of student life. “We wanted the Forbes folks to be total Forbesians and the Wilson folks to be total Wilsonites.”

It seemed to have worked.

High spirits are on display as the Class of ’15 learns Princeton cheers and songs during the freshman Step Sing.
High spirits are on display as the Class of ’15 learns Princeton cheers and songs during the freshman Step Sing.
BEVERLY SCHAEFER

  • Applicants: 27,189*
  • Students admitted: 2,300 (8.5%, including 19 from the waitlist)
  • Students enrolled: 1,300
  • Yield: 56.5%
  • Students on financial aid: 59%
  • Men: 51.2%
  • Women: 48.8%
  • States represented: 47 (plus Washington, D.C.)
  • Foreign countries represented: 46
  • U.S. minority students: 38.2%*
  • Varsity athletic prospects: 17%
  • Sons/daughters of alumni: 12.3%
  • International students: 10.8%
  • Doctoral-degree students: 459
  • Master’s-degree students: 156
  • Applicants: 11,688*
  • Students admitted: 10%
  • Men: 62%
  • Women: 38%
  • International students: 37%
  • U.S. minority students: 15.6%
  • Humanities and social sciences: 37%
  • Sciences and engineering: 27%
  • Woodrow Wilson School: 34%
  • Architecture: 2%
  • Total graduate enrollment: 2,619*

* Denotes record number
Sources: Office of Admission; Office of the Dean of the Graduate School.