The Collegian
Monday, March 27, 2023

A look at Richmond's freshman class, one of the most accomplished ever

<p>The freshmen class signs their 2020 banner during orientation.</p><p>Photo courtesy of Instagram/University of Richmond</p>

The freshmen class signs their 2020 banner during orientation.

Photo courtesy of Instagram/University of Richmond

The University of Richmond’s Class of 2020, one of the school's most diverse classes ever, began classes on campus this week amidst a hectic beginning to the school year.

Over 10,400 students applied to become a member of the Class of 2020, which has more than 800 students. The freshman class hails from 34 different countries, including 44 states and U.S. territories.

“The admitted students represent the most academically accomplished and diverse pool in the university’s history,” said Gil Villanueva, dean of admission.

As diversity on college campuses remains a hot-button topic, 28 percent of the freshman class are U.S. students of color. As of 2014, the most recent year that statistics are available, African-Americans represented six percent of the student body, Asians represented six percent and Hispanic students represented seven percent. In the U.S., African-Americans make up 13 percent of the population, while Asians represent 14 percent and Hispanics represent 24 percent, according to the Pew Research Center. Of the more than 800 freshmen, 94 are first-generation college students.

The freshman class brings some accomplished students, including internationally renowned Irish step dancers, the Vietnamese junior science olympiad representative and a first-chair cellist who has performed with Sting and Paul Simon (presumably, Dr. Crutcher will soon be added to that list).

Roughly 40 percent of the students were members of the National Honor Society, and a third of the class served as a captain on an athletic team. Student government representatives, publication editors and eagle and girl scouts are also well represented.

“The new Spiders are accomplished in and out of the classroom,” Villanueva added. “We’re looking forward to what they will achieve while at Richmond.”

Many in the Class of 2020 will be happy to finally get to the classroom after initial problems in their dorm rooms, with the Wood Hall bed bug infestation finally over. With the early disruption behind them, students can return to focusing on the reasons they chose Richmond.

Freshman Grant Miclat, who lives in Dennis Hall, was drawn to Richmond for the Robins School of Business and Richmond’s small size.

“I like that there was like a 16:1 student to teacher ratio," Miclat said. "I like individual attention, or at least more than having a 300 person class, so that was pretty big actually.” 

Grant’s father, Darrell, was thrilled with the school his son had chosen.

“We love this campus. Great school, great value,” Darrell said. “I think it’s an undiscovered gem of education.”

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