Yesterday was move-in day for the Class of 2026! The rain held off through the unloading of cars and nearly all the outside activities; it was a fabulous day! The Student Affairs and Resources team, including so many amazing student leaders and led by PATRICK, planned a fantastic introduction to Olin, including the Class Handoff. I have the great pleasure of welcoming the new class and introducing them to each other and the greater Olin community, “handing off” the new class to the people who will teach, support, and mentor them over the next four years. An excerpt of my welcome speech is below. I hope you enjoy getting to know the Olin College Class of 2026!
Hey 2026! This is one of my FAVORITE days of the year. Welcoming you, the bold, scrappy, joyful Class of 2026, fills ME with so much JOY. It is my absolute pleasure to speak to you today as Oliners. Candidates’ Week may feel like a lifetime ago or maybe even a dream, but here you are: on campus, together here in the Nord, starting your Olin journey.
My job today is to present you, my friends in the Class of 2026, to each other and to the Olin community. Through your applications and at Candidates’ Week, I was truly impressed: your preparation and potential rival any top college and university. Beyond academic statistics: you are creative and entrepreneurial and funny and kind- perhaps most importantly- you recognize injustice and inequity in the world, and you put in the work to make change. You faced obstacles, challenges, and uncertainty with gumption and grace. Even when it was hard: you showed up. You- and your families and guests- should be extremely proud!
The Class of 2026 includes students from a myriad of backgrounds, perspectives, identities, cultures and experiences. In a field historically- and honestly persistently- dominated by men, 42% of you are women. You represent 26 states and with CA, MA, NJ, WA and PA leading the way! You represent five countries outside the US by home address including India, South Korea, Greece, Singapore and the United Kingdom, and ten of you are dual citizens with countries such as Romania, Argentina, Denmark, Sweden, Belarus, Canada and Japan. A few of you are first-generation college students (just like me!). Forty-three percent of you are students of color and 17% belong to races or ethnicities historically excluded from higher education. You attended public schools, independent schools, religious schools, and charter schools. Your class includes a wide range of socio-economic backgrounds. You grew up in big cities, in small towns, on farms and on islands, and in the suburbs. You will bring your experiences and perspectives into the classroom, and the dining and residence halls to learn. Let the ways you are similar and different make you curious; learn with and from each other.
We are proud to call all of you Oliners, and while your academic and demographic metrics are striking, it is your personalities, your interests, your Olin-ness, that makes you special and is what led us to choose you. Every offer of admission at Olin is a choice, an affirmation of who you are and what you bring to the college and community. You are all Oliny. And…
- You are altruistic: a truly in 84% of you participated in community service. You found ways to give and teach and serve and support others during your busy high school days.
- You are leaders: among you are captains of academic teams and athletic teams, editors of school publications, first chairs and theater directors, Eagle Scout s and Gold Award winners, and among you’ve covered nearly ever office in student government.
- You are athletic: 55% of you played at least one sport in high school or in your community.
- You are entrepreneurial: you founded or co-founded many businesses.
- You are scholarly: at least fourteen percent of you did research at a university or company.
- You are ambitious: nearly 40% of you did an internship during high school.
- You are makers! The projects you told us about in your applications and interviews delighted us and there are too many to name! And I’m sure you won’t be surprised to know that Olin’s emphasis on projects and hands-on learning is collectively the most important factor in your choice to attend Olin.
- You are creative: among the Class of 2026 you will find musicians both instrumental and vocal, dancers, actors, choreographers, creative writers, sculptors, knitters, furniture makers and visual artists of all kinds.
- You are responsible: nearly half of you held a job in high school and your commitment to your families and households is incredible: several of you were primary caregivers for family members or neighbors, you made family meals and tutored siblings. You care for beloved family pets and tended family gardens. You contributed.
- Many of you love robotics!! Half of you did competitive robotics in high school, with lots of your teams finding creative ways to stay connected during the pandemic. And a number of you founded robotics teams for younger students or you brought STEM enrichment programs into your local schools or to populations historically excluded from the field. You are changing the future face of engineering, too.
- You are active advocates for what you believe in: through political organizations, environmental organizations, human rights organizations, and so much more. And about 20% of you honed your persuasive skills and writing skills in speech and debate or in publications. These passions and skills will serve you well as you engage as active and critical citizens of the world and engineers who consider the context and ethics of their work.
Now before anyone goes and gets intimidated by that list remember this: I would have shared the details on each and every one of you if we had time. You all bring so much to Olin, we’d be here all-day sharing talents and stories. I see you, each and every one of you, and I know every one of you 77 amazing humans in the Class of 2026 has so much to contribute to Olin, only matched by the incredible things you will learn and the ways you will grow here, individually and with the Olin community.
Again, we are proud to call you Oliners and I can’t wait to see what you do here, together. Welcome to Olin, Class of 2026!