The Class of 2026, along with this fall’s crop of new transfer students, have already made a big impact during the first half of their first semester on campus. And tomorrow they will have the opportunity to officially commit themselves to Kenyon’s “shared values of mutual respect, inclusive citizenship, spirited inquiry, and intellectual integrity,” according to the words of the College’s Matriculation Oath. That final rite of passage will occur at the annual Founders’ Day ceremony held in Rosse Hall, during which the newest official members of the Kenyon community will raise their right hands and promise to “honor those who came before [them] on Gambier Hill.”
“The Matriculation Oath is a wonderful tradition which connects Kenyon students across years and generations,” said Vice President for Student Affairs Celestino Limas, who will administer the oath. “The oath — a lived articulation of how our shared values exist within the Class of 2026 — is truly one of my favorite moments of the fall.”
Drawn from a record 8,635 applications, a total of 535 first-year and 22 transfer students joined the Kenyon community this autumn, arriving from a total of 39 states, 20 countries and 460 high schools and colleges. Students pursued rigorous academics, achieving an average weighted high school GPA of 3.98, average ACT score of 32 and SAT score of 1421. Ten percent of new students are international citizens, with another five percent of U.S. citizens holding dual passports. Twenty-four percent of new students are domestic students of color, and the cohort is also the College’s most economically diverse class.
“To be sure, my enrollment colleagues and I are particularly attached to this exceptional cohort of new students as they hit many high marks for the College and reflect our deep commitment to academic excellence, diversity and community,” said Vice President for Enrollment Diane Anci. “In the end, we know them best and cherish them most for the ways in which they were known to their high school teachers and counselors. The words used most often to describe these students were smart, creative and kind.”
“Prospective students and their families found Kenyon powerfully attractive,” said Acting President Jeff Bowman. “Our tireless and imaginative enrollment team designed new ways for students to get to know Kenyon even from a distance, and did an excellent job of communicating the power and promise of a Kenyon education.”
Christiane Betfarhad ’26, a first-year student from Connecticut recently elected by her peers to serve as class president, said, “I’m looking forward to being a part of Kenyon’s legacy and starting First Year Class Council’s mission of making the Class of 2026’s freshman experience an amazing one.” Betfarhad will lead her classmates in the traditional planting of a symbolic class tree following the Founders’ Day ceremony.
“Founder’s Day is a bridge between the past and the future,” she added. “The college admissions process was long and hard and full of uncertainty. It’s not until May that we decided to be the Kenyon Class of 2026, and even then we weren’t really, because we were still in high school and enjoying our last moments at home. Move in, Orientation, and the beginning of the semester just happened so fast that sometimes I find it hard to believe that I’m here. Matriculation acknowledges the culmination of all these events and welcomes us to Kenyon.”