DU Welcomes Class of 2026 to Campus
Surrounded by family and friends, incoming first-year and transfer students jump-started their University of Denver adventure at convocation, staged on Wednesday, Sept. 7, at Magness Arena in the Ritchie Center for Sports & Wellness.
“You are entering a grand intellectual journey, so go into this next chapter with excitement and confidence. You are prepared for this. You’ve brought everything you need with you,” Chancellor Jeremy Haefner told the packed house. “We are excited—so excited—to teach, support, give to you and, importantly, learn from you. You’ve got this. After all, you are now DU.”
The Class of 2026—made up of 1,640 students from 1,168 different high schools—was also welcomed by Mary Clark, provost and executive vice chancellor; Todd Rinehart, vice chancellor for enrollment; and Abbie McAdams and Shreya Surendra, the president and vice president of Undergraduate Student Government.
“Academically, you impressed us with your intelligence and desire to learn. Personally, your stories brought us smiles, laughs and tears. You are successful athletes, musicians, artists, entrepreneurs, scientists, writers, committed to social justice and community engagement. You’ve made a difference in the lives of many, we are thrilled to welcome your many talents to campus,” Rinehart said, kicking off remarks to the new class, which is shaping up to be the largest in modern DU history.
Beyond their talents and qualifications, the Class of 2026’s perseverance through the global pandemic was recognized. “I understand that the last two years have been challenging years for you,” said Clark, “but what I would like to say now, is that this is a new day for you and for all of us.
For his part, Haefner challenged incoming students to lean into curiosity and explore the opportunities—from academic to recreational—that the University has to offer.
“When you embrace curiosity, you are recognizing the space between what you know right now, and all there is to learn and discover. I call on you to boldly embrace curiosity. Ask Questions. Test assumptions and convictions. This is a vital part of the college experience,” he said.
Affirming the University’s commitment to the 4D Experience, Haefner highlighted the opportunities that the University’s new James C. Kennedy Mountain Campus will provide: ensuring academic growth, fostering well-being, developing character and setting students on a path toward lives and careers of purpose. Throughout fall quarter, groups of first-year students will travel to the KMC for their First Ascent—a weekend packed with a range of activities—from hiking, climbing and meditating to arts and crafts, s’mores around the campfire and a challenge course that promotes personal and group achievement.
Haefner concluded his speech with a final acknowledgment of the hard work and dedication that it took the Class of 2026 to join the DU community.
It’s an honor to have you here, and it’s an honor that you have entrusted us with your education,” he said.