UNC Asheville is gearing up for the start of the academic year and will welcome some 550 new freshmen this fall. Freshman will move into their residence halls beginning at 9 a.m. Friday, with returning students arriving Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 20-21. Classes begin on Monday, August 22.
The Class of 2015, which is expected to be about 45 students smaller than last year's entering class, has a very strong academic profile, said Patrice Mitchell, UNC Asheville dean of admissions and financial aid. "We enrolled a smaller freshman class because we know our students are facing fewer course sections and larger classes due to recent state budget cuts, and we wanted to ensure we could maintain the quality of the academic experience. The average SAT score and grade-point average of the incoming class are higher than they have been in the past five years," Mitchell said.
The average SAT for incoming freshman is in the high 1170s, with more than half of North Carolina freshman coming from the Piedmont area, Mitchell said. UNC Asheville's average SAT for incoming freshmen has consistently ranked among the four highest in the 16-campus University of North Carolina system. UNC Asheville's fall student headcount is expected to be about 3,700, some 65 fewer students than last year.
Also on campus this fall will be the first group of graduate students enrolled in the new satellite program of the UNC-Chapel Hill Eshelman School of Pharmacy. The pharmacy-education doctoral program is offered in partnership with Mission Health System.
The renovation of Governors Village residence halls is expected to be completed the first week of classes. UNC Asheville has arranged for Governors Village residents to stay at the Crowne Plaza hotel until the renovation project is complete. The delay affects 100 returning upperclassmen, all of whom were notified earlier in the summer. Six resident assistants and professional staff will stay with the students at the hotel. The university will provide shuttle service to and from campus for classes and meals, and will assist students in moving their belongings from the hotel to their residence hall rooms.
The incoming freshmen will be the first to attend Convocation in the Kimmel Arena at the new Sherrill Center, at 4 p.m. Friday. The ceremony, formerly held on the main Quadrangle, is the university's official welcome to new students. Sophie Mills, chair of the Classics Department and the 2011 recipient of the UNC Board of Governors' Award for Excellence in Teaching, will give the keynote address, and the students will receive their Class of 2015 pins.
All UNC Asheville students will have the opportunity to use the new Sherrill Center, which is home to research labs, classrooms, dedicated undergraduate research space, a fitness center, a wellness café, and the academic Health and Wellness Department, one of UNC Asheville’s fastest-growing majors. “Our students will now have access to very impressive, state-of-the-art equipment for learning purposes and undergraduate research,” said Keith Ray, chair of the Health and Wellness Department.
UNC Asheville is also adding Chinese cultural and language courses to its Asian Studies minor this fall. According to UNC Asheville Associate Provost Ed Katz, the first Chinese language class, originally slated for 15 students, has been increased to more than 20 in order to accommodate interest in the subject.
After Friday’s Convocation ceremony, students are invited to attend Rockypalooza, a night of activities, games, prizes and food is intended for new classmates to get acquainted with each other and their new university. Campus-wide RendezBlue orientation events will continue throughout the weekend.