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Northwestern welcomes Class of 2020

About 2,000 first-year students from Northwestern University’s Class of 2020 joined in Wildcat Welcome celebrations Tuesday and participated in the traditional March Through the Arch to kick off their time at Northwestern.

As President Morton Schapiro, University officials, upper-class students and proud parents looked on, the Northwestern University Marching Band led the procession across Sheridan Road and through the Weber Arch into campus.

They marched to Deering Meadow, where new and transfer students in purple tee shirts heard welcome remarks, saw a performance of the new student dance they will learn this week and said their goodbyes to parents and family members.

“I think this week you’re going to learn about the Northwestern University community,” the president told the assembled sea of fresh faces. “I think you are going to learn about each other, and I think you’re going to learn about yourselves. God bless you and Go ‘Cats!”

To great applause and cheering, President Schapiro gave shout-outs to the band, the peer advisors, the family ambassadors and the Wildcat Welcome board members who had come out to greet the new students. Then he called on the crowd to recognize parents and family members on hand to send off their students in the traditional ‘Kiss ‘n’ Bye’ part of the morning.

“It’s so exciting,” said Pauline Chen of San Jose, California, who came to the Arch to watch her first-year daughter, Angie, 18, march into campus. “She’s my baby. It’s so exciting just to see this. It makes me happy.” Angie Chen is starting a program to become a doctor.

 Watching the procession from the same spot on the corner of Sheridan Road by the Arch, Dean of Students Todd Adams talked about the incoming class.

“It’s our most selective, diverse and experienced class to date, and they are coming in with a variety of different backgrounds,” he said. “Our oldest student is 32 – he’s a veteran – and our youngest student is 16. There are about 40 more women than men, but the numbers are pretty close. Nearly all of them have already been on the class Facebook page, so something like 90 percent of them already have been in touch on social media.”

The ceremony kicks off a week of events for students and parents before classes get underway next week.

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