RIT welcomes more than 3,300 new undergraduates this week

New students arriving from 48 states and 47 countries

Traci Westcott/RIT

Brennan Quatela, second from right, a civil engineering technology major from Webster, N.Y., and his mother, Christine, left; father, Michael, second from left; and sister, Lauren, help unload as he moves into his residence hall. He is among the more than 3,300 first-year and transfer students welcomed at RIT this week.

Brennan Quatela brought all the comforts of home to his new residence hall at Rochester Institute of Technology, including the essentials: tubs of snacks and a flat-screen television.

“I’m very excited,” said Quatela, a first-year civil engineering technology major from the Rochester suburb of Webster, who moved in Monday morning. “I’m excited because this gets me closer to my next world, closer to my major.”

Quatela was one of more than 3,300 new and transfer undergraduate students arriving in Rochester this week as they prepare for their first day of classes next Monday.

The new undergraduate students come from 48 states (all but Iowa and Wyoming); Washington, D.C.; Puerto Rico; Guam; U.S. Virgin Islands; and 47 countries, with the largest contingent coming from India, Canada, and China.

They are among the most well-rounded and academically prepared class at RIT. Their average high school GPA was 93, and 60 students graduated first in their class.

There are 11 Fulbright scholars enrolling this year, and 112 new Ph.D. students, up 19 from a year ago.

Sandra Johnson, senior vice president for Student Affairs, also helped welcome the new students and their families, as did some 400 student orientation leaders, residence advisers, and international pals — who often cheered and broke into dance as the new students pulled up to check into their residence hall.

“We love this time of year,” Johnson said. “It’s great seeing these students come in. Some are going to study cybersecurity. Some are going to be engineers. Some are going to study glass blowing. It’s going to be a real adventure for them, and we’re pleased we can be a part of it.”

More than 500 new students are receiving a Performing Arts Scholarship. These are given to students who participate in a club, performance, or take lessons in instrumental or vocal music, musical theater, technical production, dance, acting, or circus arts. More than 1,800 students have received the scholarships in the five years since the program began.

In addition, there are 927 new graduate students—about 150 are recent or former RIT undergraduate students continuing on for a graduate degree. About 60 percent of RIT’s incoming graduate class are international students, coming from 40 countries, the largest contingent coming from India, China, Nigeria, Iran, and Ghana.

And this year, there are 17 sets of twins in the incoming class.

Lauren Sabia had two carloads of items to unload as she moved into her residence hall this morning. She looks forward to starting college and will be playing women’s varsity basketball.

“I wanted to come to a school that was a good size, but still had a friendly atmosphere,” said Sabia, of Simsbury, Conn. She’s majoring in criminal justice, with her focus on becoming an FBI special agent.

Colin Gagner was happy to get a top bunk on a top floor of his residence hall. He made the bed as his parents, David and Christina Gagner, and his older sister stood by.

Colin Gagner sings, plays guitar, and acts and received a Performing Arts Scholarship. He is excited to make new friends.

“I’m going to miss real maple syrup the most,” lamented Gagner, an illustration major from Fairlee, Vt. “But I’m looking forward to a co-op, especially with Warner Brothers.”

(Note to Gagner: RIT has produced syrup from its maple trees on campus).

The new students will have a week-long orientation, where they will learn more about RIT, life on campus, services available to them, and the hundreds of clubs and organizations they can join.

Classes begin Aug. 28.

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