PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — An aspiring evolutionary biologist who grew more than 300 plants at his home in Ukraine and explored ways that algae and seaweed can be used to mitigate pollution. A self-described “people watcher” whose childhood years in her family’s rural small business — and their personal experiences with the U.S. immigration system — inspired a deep desire to investigate and improve the lives of others. A biologist whose love of learning and ambition to transform Africa’s health care infrastructure led him from a small village in Guinea to New York, then through the Van Wickle Gates.
These are just three of the 1,833 undergraduate students who commenced their academic careers at Brown’s 259th Opening Convocation on Saturday, Sept. 10. The Class of 2026 is comprised of 1,719 first-year students, 104 transfer students and 10 students enrolled in Brown’s Resumed Undergraduate Education program, which serves those who interrupted or delayed their formal education. Although classes have been in session for only one week, members of the Class of 2026 are already immersed in the Brown community.
Incoming students took part in the College’s First Readings program, which for the third consecutive year focused on Brown’s groundbreaking “Slavery and Justice Report,” which investigated the University's historical ties to the transatlantic slave trade. Brown’s newest students also connected with peer and faculty advisors in the Meiklejohn Peer Advising Program, participated in community-building programs led by groups like the Community Dialogue Project and the Undocumented, First-Generation College and Low-Income Student Center and joined events run by countless student organizations. All participated in New Student Orientation, a series of opportunities that introduce newly arrived students to University history, traditions and values, and the rigorous academic life they’ll experience at Brown; and hundreds of students arrived on campus early to take part in various Pre-Orientation programs tailored to specific academic interests and identities.
With the first week of the semester in the books, Dean of the College Rashid Zia said the motivation and joy on campus is a sign of bright futures ahead.
“Our newest students began writing their own Brown stories long before they arrived on campus, supporting their local communities, engaging in critical research and finding creative, collaborative ways to connect with one another,” Zia said. “This class is composed of dedicated and dynamic learners, and we have no doubt that they’ll make an impact on College Hill and beyond.”
A series of profiles that will be published beginning on Thursday, Sept. 15, will feature the passions, goals and unique life journeys that led a few of Brown's newest students to College Hill.