Widener Celebrates Its Largest Incoming Class

Nicole Carrera, Assistant Director of Communications
Volunteers helping students and families unload a cart of items outside of a residence hall
Returning-student volunteers helped new students move into their residence halls

Widener welcomed the university’s largest and most diverse class of new and incoming first-year students to the Chester campus this week for the start of fall semester. 

New Class By the Numbers

Over 900 new members of The Pride 🦁 hailing from:

13 states and 12 countries 🌎

50% identify as a person of color 📚

More than 1/3 are first-generation college students 🎓

President Stacey Robertson greeted students and their families as they arrived in their vehicles. Students unloaded their belongings into residence halls with the help of faculty, staff, and returning-student volunteers. Families enjoyed lunch in the Pride Café, and the day ended with a barbecue on Memorial Field complete with food and games before families traveled home. 

President Robertson stands at the podium addressing the crowd
President Robertson addresses students at Convocation

The newest members of The Pride continued through orientation led by their resident assistants and CREW leaders, discovering campus and getting to know their peers.  

The celebration of new students continued Friday with Academic Convocation- the official beginning of students’ academic careers at Widener. Robertson addressed students with a message of reassurance at this pivotal time in their lives, emphasizing that they can count on the entire Widener community for support.

“You will embrace resilience because as you challenge yourself personally and academically, you will experience obstacles, setbacks, frustrations, and failures- and we will be there for you! And you will be there for each other!” Robertson said. 

“Transformation” was the central theme of this year’s convocation, and Professor of Social Work Brent Satterly addressed the topic in his keynote address. Satterly shared his own story of transformation through his education as a college student into the person he is today, standing for what he believes in and being an advocate for those around him to live unapologetically and authentically as themselves.  

He encouraged students to enter their college careers with open minds to new experiences and ideas, even when it may be uncomfortable. 

Dr. Brent Satterly gives the keynote speech
Dr. Brent Satterly gives the keynote speech at Convocation

“I have now had the privilege of teaching countless undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students, and it is you who are my inspiration,” Satterly shared. “When students show courage to try something new, I am inspired. When students engage in compelling conversation about sensitive topics in a classroom in ways that don’t harm, but encourage critical thinking, I am inspired. The sky’s the limit and you, the students, show up.”


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