The 692 members of the class of 2023 arrived on campus this fall with an impressive array of skills and accomplishments and widely varying backgrounds. The first-year students come from 47 states and 33 foreign countries. Thirty-six were valedictorians of their high school class and another 20 were salutatorians. Ninety-eight of them are the first in their families to attend college. The class includes 153 captains of athletic teams, 38 student government executive board members, and 57 editors of major high school publications. One member of the class helped city officials in Seattle redesign the community’s streets to make them safer for bicyclists. Another is a nationally competitive ice dancer, and several others are professional actors.
Keeping with Vassar tradition, enthusiastic greeters lined up in front of residence halls to welcome new students moved into their residence halls. As they started classes, and launched their participation in various extracurricular activities, several members of the class said they were excited to be beginning their Vassar careers.
Violet Munnelly, of Nyack, NY, and a member of the women’s soccer team, said she had heard good things about Vassar from friends and acquaintances in her hometown, so she decided to apply. She looked at several other colleges during her senior year in high school, but a class she attended during her visit to Vassar convinced her it was the right college for her.
“I was here on a recruiting visit for the soccer team, and I went to a history class,” Munnelly said as she prepared for the start of the semester. “There was a discussion about Eurasian terrorism that was more interesting and stimulating than any of the classes I attended at the other colleges.”
Owen Fauth, who scored a goal for the men’s soccer team in the second game of the season, said having the chance to participate in intercollegiate athletics was one reason he chose Vassar.
“I really like Coach [Andy] Jennings’s style of play,” Fauth said. But he added that a particular building on the Vassar campus had clinched his decision. “I plan to major in science, probably biochemistry,” the Keene, NH, resident said. “When I walked into the Bridge for Laboratory Sciences and saw the amazing facilities, that helped me make up my mind.”
Two other first-year students, Ryan Lane, of Santa Monica, CA, and Malinda Smith, of Columbia, MD, said they’re simply impressed by the atmosphere on campus.
“I’m really inspired by the academics here,” said Lane. “The professors and students are truly passionate about their classes.”
Smith, who plans to major in film, said a film class she attended during a campus visit last year captivated her. “The class was amazing, and so was a Russian class I attended,” she said. “I looked at a lot of other schools, but I just really like all the people here.”