We love this time each year. As campus prepares to welcome the new first-year class, we are continually blown away when hearing about all they’ve accomplished before setting foot on campus.

In case you missed it, more than 10,000 people applied for the chance to be one of 800 of Richmond’s newest Spiders in the Class of 2021. It’s our most diverse class ever, with 38 percent identifying as domestic students of color or non-white international students. Starting on August 23, we’ll begin welcoming these students from around the world to campus for the new academic year. It’s easy to be impressed with the latest crop of Spiders.

But our excitement is about more than just stats. Campus thrives off the fresh perspectives and diversity of thought that new students of all backgrounds bring here. And because our industry-leading financial aid ensures we can attract talented students of all backgrounds, that combination creates a transformative educational environment.

“Some of the most academically talented students in the United States and abroad applied for admission,” said Gil Villanueva, associate vice president and dean of Admission. “The new Spiders will add much to the Richmond community.”

Within the class of 2021:

  • 30 percent are U.S. students of color, the highest percentage in University history and the ninth consecutive year in which more than 20 percent of incoming first-year students are domestic students of color.
  • 10 percent are international students, representing 30 countries from Belize to Vietnam.
  • 13 percent are first-generation college students.
  • 39 states and U.S. territories are represented.

“We know they will take full advantage of and benefit from the Richmond experience, from partnering with faculty to leading numerous student organizations to studying abroad,” Villanueva said.

Your new fellow Spiders have some familiar pursuits. They were class presidents, newspaper and yearbook editors, Eagle Scouts, artists, team captains, and community volunteers. The Class of 2021 also includes entrepreneurs in game development and non-profits, lab assistants in cancer research, a co-founder of a youth theatre collective, a pianist who performed at Carnegie Hall, and a nationally ranked tennis player.

We’re excited to see what these young wunderkinds will do during their time on campus and beyond. At the same time, we don’t know whether to be impressed or intimidated. Either way, we’re proud to call them all Spiders!