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Fall Welcome Weekend brings new students to UMaine

President Ferguson, his wife Grace (l) and his daughter Jenny (r) greet new students and their families upon arrival at UMaine last Friday.

University of Maine President Paul Ferguson led a group of some 610 volunteers welcoming new fist-year students Friday, Aug. 26 as part of the university’s traditional Maine Hello program.  A component of Fall Welcome Weekend, Maine Hello gives students and their families early exposure to UMaine’s trademark hospitality.

“I’ve been looking forward to this day since our arrival,” said Ferguson, who took over as UMaine’s president on July 1.  “It’s great to see so many members of our community turn out to help our new students move into residence halls.  The spirit is overwhelmingly positive, and it contributes to getting our academic year off to a great start.”

Fall Welcome Weekend includes a series of programs and activities for first-year students, continuing through Sunday.

“Fall Welcome Weekend is an important element of UMaine’s wide-ranging First Year Residence Experience program,” said Robert Dana, UMaine vice president for student affairs and dean of students.  “Over the course of these three days, we provide our new students with opportunities to effectively adjust to campus life while preparing for the start of classes next Monday.  It is important for this class to have an opportunity to begin to develop as a community unto itself, while each student readies himself or herself to succeed at UMaine, both academically and socially.”

The First Year Residence Experience (FYRE) program offers various forms of education and support throughout the academic year.  Through residence hall-based programming and other offerings, FYRE provides practical advice and assistance as students adjust to the rigors of university academics and the significant changes associated with living on campus.  To facilitate FYRE programming, almost all first-year students live in the Hilltop and Stewart Quad residence halls.  Sophomores, juniors and seniors live in the university’s other residence halls.

The new first-year students, members of the Class of 2015, number 1,848 according to data from Aug. 19.  That number is four more students than last year at the same time, and a three percent increase over 2009.  A sharp increase in out-of-state enrollment is helping UMaine keep pace in light of the declining number of Maine high school graduates.  Out-of-state first-year enrollment is up 15 percent over last year, and up by 24 percent over two years ago.

“The continuing increase in out-of-state interest is an encouraging sign,” Ferguson said.  “It indicates that UMaine’s positive reputation is expanding beyond our state’s borders in meaningful ways, to the point where increasing numbers of outstanding out-of-state students are making the serious life choice to become part of this dynamic academic community.  The UMaine student experience is robust and rewarding, and we all look forward to helping each student achieve his or her personal and professional goals.”

With respect to UMaine’s growing reputation, Ferguson also noted that the university was recently listed among the nation’s best universities by three comprehensive college guides — Princeton Review, the Fiske Guide to Colleges and Forbes.  Additionally, he emphasized that the new first-year students also bring impressive academic credentials.  Twenty-two percent were in the top 10 percent of their graduating class and 43 percent were in the top 20 percent.  Both those numbers are higher than last year’s percentages.  The average SAT score for new first-year students is 1083, three points higher than last year’s average

UMaine’s overall enrollment is projected to be 11,250, a slight decline from last year’s official number of 11,501.  Actual enrollment totals are based on an Oct. 15 snapshot.  Some 2,300 UMaine students will be enrolled in graduate programs.  UMaine is both Maine’s largest educational institution and home to the state’s largest graduate school.  Eighty-six percent of UMaine students are Maine residents.

Residents of 85 countries and 44 states are enrolled at the university.

Aug. 28, 2011
Contact: Joe Carr
(207) 581-3571

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