Class of 2026 joins the University of Chicago community

Orientation Week celebrates new students through Opening Convocation events, Aims of Education address

This week, the University of Chicago community welcomed new students to campus through a variety of Orientation Week activities aimed at introducing them to their peers, their new academic home and the city of Chicago.

A day after College students in the Class of 2026 moved into their residence halls on Sept. 20, they took part in Opening Convocation—a tradition that celebrates the beginning of students’ intellectual journeys.

President Paul Alivisatos welcomed students into UChicago’s community of scholars and celebrated their diversity of perspectives. 

“You will learn, as I did, that this University really fosters a very distinctive culture,” said Alivisatos, who graduated from the College in 1981 with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. “It is one defined by a true love of ideas, of fascination with understanding things in the deepest way possible ... We are a community of individuals, who really do question what others merely accept, who care about the power of ideas, who actively seek new discoveries that will change the way we think of things in the world around us, and that will also benefit humanity in the broadest way.”

John W. Boyer, dean of the College, concluded the ceremony at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel by highlighting the history of the Class of 2026’s new home.

“Coming to Chicago in 2022, you will experience what generations of past students have experienced: this great University set in this remarkable city, creating and demanding greatness with broad, universal horizons,” he said.

Students then joined a bagpipe procession across the Main Quadrangles and through Cobb Gate—with their families and members of the UChicago community cheering them on.

As an introduction to UChicago’s distinctive style of learning, undergraduate students attended the Aims of Education address on Sept. 22. Delivered this year by Assoc. Prof. Agnes Callard, AB’97, this revered tradition explores the purpose of a liberal arts education and encourages students to reflect on their future in the College. The event was followed by small-group discussions in residence halls, which was led by distinguished UChicago faculty.

Incoming graduate students in UChicago’s 12 schools and divisions kicked off the academic year on Sept. 20, with a bagpipe procession from the Main Quadrangles to Rockefeller Chapel for a welcome Convocation

Orientation Week for College students will conclude with service events through Engage Chicago, College Night at the Museum of Science and Industry and urban hikes across the city led by Chicago Studies.