Welcoming the Class of 2023

The new undergraduates and transfers set records and are “ready for the challenge” of Tufts, said President Anthony Monaco
Watch a photo gallery from Tufts’ 2019 move-in day and matriculation. Photos: Alonso Nichols and Anna Miller
August 28, 2019

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What’s a little rain when you’re a Jumbo—and especially Jumbos starting out on a new adventure?

No bother at all, as matriculation for the Class of 2023—all 1,612 strong—proved. A cloudburst interrupted the program midway through, but the prompt dispersal of Tufts ponchos kept speakers on track and parents and students in their seats on the Academic Quad.

Susan Garrity Ardizzoni, interim dean of admissions, expressed the anticipation felt by students and parents for a traditional ceremony that marks the start of a new academic year—and a new journey. 

“Many of us in the admissions office refer to matriculation day as the best day of the year,” said Ardizzoni. “We’ve spent more than a year thinking, planning, communicating, gently nudging, meeting, Jumbo Daysing . . . with and about you—and now you are finally here, ready to embark on this exciting adventure.”  

Catch up with more photos and social media from matriculation >>

There are also class distinctions worthy of admissions history books, she said. The School of Engineering set an enrollment record, with 274 students, and the school also achieved a milestone that got a round of enthusiastic applause. For the first time in the history of the university, women enrolled in the School of Engineering make up more than 50 percent of the class.

The School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts also set new enrollment records with seventy students pursuing the B.F.A. program, plus another forty-eight in the five-year SMFA at Tufts combined degree program.

In other firsts, this fall the Tisch College of Civic Life will be sending twelve students to Peru for the inaugural Tufts Civic Semester program, in which students spend their fall semester abroad working at a nonprofit organization, doing academic coursework, and immersing themselves in language and cultural studies.

International students comprise a record-setting 12.7 percent of class, up from 11 percent last year, and hail from eighty-two countries—from Albania and Ghana to Montenegro and Zambia.

As a whole, the incoming undergraduates continue to reflect Tufts selective admissions trend. This year the university received 22,766 applications and admitted 3,404, or 15 percent.

Characteristically, the class also shares a strong social conscience, Ardizzoni told Tufts Now. “They are socially aware and very in tune with issues that consume our nation like gun control and immigration issues—and they want to work in our collaborative community to find ways to make a difference.”

In his remarks at matriculation, President Anthony P. Monaco assured students that they were “ready for the challenge” of Tufts. 

“We see scholars motivated to learn and explore,” he said. “We see artists and musicians on fire with creativity. We see entrepreneurs brimming with new ideas. We see leaders who turn challenges into opportunities. We see the qualities that bring life into this campus and light into this world. That’s why you’re here, and that’s why we chose you.”

At Tufts, he continued, students will find what they need to succeed. “We believe an education should give you skills that should allow you to be an active and effective participant in life after graduation. We believe those skills include the ones that define citizenship. That’s why we chose you, to hone your ability to listen carefully, to think critically, and to write clearly. That’s why we wish you to examine the assumptions that underlie your beliefs and to learn how to explain why you believe what you believe to others and to yourself.”

The Class of 2023 is distinctive in other ways, too:

37.8 percent of the U.S. undergraduates identify as students of color.

176 students are the first in their families to pursue a bachelor’s degree.

In the U.S., Massachusetts, New York, and California sent the largest number of students.

Thirty-two students are from the university’s host communities of Medford, Somerville, and Boston.

The first-year undergraduate class received $26,275,261 in need-based grants. The amount of the average grant was $43,647.  

Seventeen students enrolled in Tufts’ 1+4 Fellowship program, the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life’s bridge-year initiative that provides accepted students the opportunity to experience a “gap year” of full-time community service before beginning their studies at Tufts. Countries of study are Brazil, Ecuador, India, and Uruguay.  

Forty-two students in the class are National Merit Scholars.

The most popular potential majors of interest for incoming students in the School of Arts and Sciences are economics, biology and international relations. At the School of Engineering, biomedical and mechanical engineering are tied for first, with computer science a close second.

Laura Ferguson can be reached at laura.ferguson@tufts.edu.