University of Minnesota: U of M Twin Cities welcomes historically diverse, large class of new students


The University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus welcomes an extraordinary class of new students this fall — the most diverse in campus history, and one of the biggest. Built on a large number of Minnesota high school graduates, this class again displays increased access for underrepresented students.

This cohort of roughly 6,700 new students will come together for Welcome Week, starting on Aug. 31 and running through Sept. 5. For more than a decade, Welcome Week experiences have helped incoming students learn University traditions, become comfortable with navigating campus and build a supportive peer community for the years ahead. Over the summer, these new students in the Class of 2026 participated in an on-campus orientation. Welcome Week 2022 will bring them together for events including:

Pride & Spirit — where students learn cheers and traditions, as well as take the giant “M” photo on the football field — will take place on Wednesday, Aug. 31 at 8 p.m. at Huntington Bank Stadium.
New Student Convocation — the official welcome ceremony for the Class of 2026 — will be held on Thursday, Sept. 1 at 9:45 a.m. at 3M Arena at Mariucci. This event will also be live streamed at
Small group meetings, a new multicultural showcase, and campus engagement and exploration will take place from Wednesday to Saturday.
Interactive campus safety sessions will also be available all week from the Department of Public Safety Community Engagement Team.

Though notable for its size, the Class of 2026 is also the most diverse in Twin Cities campus history, driven by record numbers of incoming Black and Indigenous students. The vast majority of this year’s class hails from across Minnesota, as well as nearby reciprocity states, particularly Wisconsin. Enrollment momentum of Pell-eligible students remains steady as well, reflecting the University’s commitment to equitable access to education.

The University has experienced remarkable growth in its four-year graduation rates in recent decades, rising to record levels. Research has clearly shown the importance of a supportive campus environment in fostering student success, and Welcome Week is a crucial part of this.

Welcome Week is hosted by Orientation & Transition Experiences in the Office of Undergraduate Education, but is only possible through the hard work of hundreds of University employees and volunteers. A fleet of 300 Welcome Week Leaders — upper-class student volunteers — tend to be the most visible contributors to the week’s events. Moreover, numerous campus and community partners make Welcome Week a success behind the scenes.

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