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Class of ’18: Marching Through the Arch

EVANSTON, Ill. --- More than 2,000 members of Northwestern University’s Class of 2018 and new transfer students officially kicked off Wildcat Welcome orientation with a giant ceremonial first step -- the sixth annual “March Through the Arch.”

Surrounded by parents, faculty, staff and other well-wishers, the purple-clad students were led en masse by the Northwestern University Marching Band across Sheridan Road and through the Weber Arch, the iconic entrance to the University’s Evanston campus.

On Deering Meadow, the new students gathered to be greeted by University President Morton Schapiro, Associated Student Government (ASG) President Julia Watson and New Student and Family Programs director Patricia Hilkert.

“Fully enjoy Wildcat Welcome,” Schapiro said. “You’re going to have an incredible week.”

He reminded the assembled students of the pivotal role family members, many of whom were looking on, played and will continue to play in their education.

“When you hug your family members and say you love them, also thank them,” he said. “Because none of you would be here at this great institution without the people who invested in you.”

ASG President Watson emphasized the diverse nature of both the Northwestern community and educational experience.

“Learn from each other, learn to listen and learn to empathize,” she said. “As a Wildcat, it is your responsibility to appreciate diversity and understand why perspective matters. The different communities that make up Northwestern are what give our student body its strength.”

Watson encouraged students to take full advantage of the University’s quarter system, telling them it’s perfect for taking many interesting and exciting courses.

“As a result, Northwestern graduates have gone on to be best-selling authors, Olympians, presidential candidates, Grammy winners, Emmy winners and Nobel Prize winners,” she said.

After a class photo, new students said goodbye to their families and boarded buses to downtown Chicago’s Millennium Park for one of Northwestern’s newest traditions, “Purple Pride.” With the skyline of the Second City as a backdrop, students will spend the afternoon getting to know their peers, their University and their new community.

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