Freshman class of 2012 joins upperclass and graduate students as classes start this week

New students move into renovated residence halls and dining services | August 29, 2008

Xavier’s freshman class of 867 students moved into their residence halls on Friday, Aug. 22. This year’s class is a bit larger than last year's class of 858 students. All 6,214 students, including graduate students, began classes at 4:00 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 25, with the first full day of classes on Tuesday, Aug. 26.

Students entering Brockman Hall, reserved for freshmen, moved into newly renovated units as the building underwent a complete renovation this summer. New desks and chairs were delivered into updated and newly painted rooms. The building is now accessible for people with disabilities, and it has a new elevator and fire alarm system with sprinklers and a PA system. Also, the 30 apartments in the Village received new kitchens, carpeting and bathrooms, including new tubs.

Many of the freshmen moving in already know each other, and they know a lot about life at Xavier, because of Xavier’s new accepted-student web site. It allows accepted students to chat with each other, ask questions of current students and find out details on such topics as financial aid and academic advising. Parents of accepted students are also able to log into a special parents site.

The Class of 2012 also got acquainted with Xavier through a special web portal. The new students saw the same information that current students see as well as important details about beginning their Xavier academic careers. Prior to arriving at Xavier, the new students also received e-mails on such topics as safety, health and transitioning from high school to college. Parents received similar e-mails.

After moving in, the freshmen spent the weekend in an orientation program called Manresa. The name is taken from a town in Spain where St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuit religious order that runs Xavier, took time to reflect on his life. His life story parallels the process of reflection new students experience as they begin their college careers. Manresa offers students a variety of activities to help prepare them for the challenges of college and also gives them opportunities to meet their classmates and make new friends.

After a welcome address from Xavier University President Michael J. Graham, S.J., students participated in small group discussions on topics such as goal-setting, safety, diversity, academics and community service. This year’s Manresa included a volunteer fair and interfaith discussion. Young alumni met with students to talk about how their Jesuit education influenced their career paths and their lives. There also was time for entertainment and social activities.

Manresa leaders also showed videos for incoming freshmen covering safety tips from Xavier campus police, a money management lesson from the bursar and tips from current students for parents of freshmen.

Other changes on campus this year include the requirement of a common book, "Mountains Beyond Mountains," by Tracy Kidder, that all freshmen were required to read this summer and respond to with an essay. Discussions about the book are taking place in the first weeks of classes.

Construction of the Hoff Quad also begins in the next few weeks as the houses along Dana and Ledgewood avenues are scheduled for demolition in early September. The Quad features two new facilities, the Learning Commons which will include new spaces for academic instruction and a new building for the Williams College of Business, along with the modernization of the University Library and Alter Hall.

A bit to the east, Xavier Square will create a vibrant new entryway to campus and provide a series of long-awaited amenities and resources. This 20-acre development will feature a mix of retail and entertainment outlets, student housing, a hotel, student recreation center and bookstore. For updates, including a live webcam, please visit

Students will find a new effort by Xavier to reach out to other faiths with the appointment of Rabbi Abie Ingber as the founding director of the Office of Interfaith Community Engagement. Its mission is to impact and create community among people of different faith backgrounds at Xavier. Ingber recently retired as the executive director of the Hillel Jewish Student Center of Cincinnati, a position he held for more than 30 years.

Finally, Xavier is adding green elements in several areas of campus. The Hoff Dining Hall is completing renovations and is under new management that is emphasizing sustainability in food preparation. Xavier Dining Services is using china, flatware and glassware rather than disposable paper and Styrofoam. Also the Xavier Bookstore is offering supplies made from recycled products. Pencils made from sustained yield wood—no rain forest wood—and all recycled paper. They have also switched to eco-friendly cleaning products.