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UMBC ushers in new academic year with largest class ever

August 29, 2018 11:00 AM
August 28, 2018 by Kait McCaffrey

With each new school year, UMBC welcomes its Retrievers back to campus with a cherished tradition. On their way into Convocation, faculty and staff line up to cheer on new students with high fives, smiles, and the occasional “woof!”

“It is your journey to travel, but we will be with you the entire way,” Dr. Katharine Cole tells new students at UMBC Convocation. #UMBCWelcome pic.twitter.com/bxF3XPDzjn

— UMBC (@UMBC) August 28, 2018


There are plenty of reasons to celebrate the coming of the fall semester. This year, UMBC welcomes the largest-ever class of undergraduates, a mix of first year and transfers. And returning students will find new construction and academic opportunities awaiting them—all signs of exciting things ahead.

The Class of 2022

In addition to growing in numbers, the class of 2022 is the most academically competitive class in UMBC’s history, with a 30-point increase in average SAT score and an average GPA of more than 3.8. The incoming class is comprised of 1,800 first-year students, traveling to Baltimore from across the globe. 

UMBC new students assemble for class photo. Photo by Poulomi Banerjee '16 for UMBC.UMBC new students assemble for class photo. Photo by Poulomi Banerjee ’16 for UMBC.


“This year’s entering freshmen and transfer class represents our most diverse ever—ethnically, academically, as well as geographically.  With a 46% increase in our new, international student population, our new students come from as far as Australia, Nepal, and Zimbabwe, to Brazil, Canada, and Great Britain,” says Dale Bittinger, assistant vice provost for admissions and orientation.

At the annual Fall Opening Meeting, incoming freshman and Honors College student Jake Doody addressed assembled faculty and staff to talk about why he decided to attend UMBC.

“As my high school career wrapped up, I heard more and more about UMBC; the ‘small class’ atmosphere, a president well-known for his innovative philosophy, and, of course, acclaimed math and computer science programs,” said Doody, a graduate of Glenelg Country School who plans to pursue degrees in those areas.

Jake Doody '22 with family at annual Fall Opening Meeting. Photo by Marlayna Demond '11 for UMBC.Jake Doody ’22 with family at the annual Fall Opening Meeting. Photo by Marlayna Demond ’11 for UMBC.


“There’s a real responsibility, a tangible responsibility, to use what I’ve been given to the best of my ability, and UMBC is the best place in the nation for me to do that,” he said.

Building Together

While students were busy with their summer activities, UMBC was working diligently to get campus ready for their return. The Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Building (ILSB) continues to take shape with a projected finish date of spring 2019. The building will feature a public art space, teaching labs, and cooperative project rooms to facilitate research and encourage collaboration.  


In addition to new facilities, UMBC has also established new academic programs for the upcoming year. Students can now enroll in master’s of professional studies programs in Data Science, Technical Management, and Integrated Product Development and Manufacturing.

Banner image by Ian Feldmann, The Retriever.