The journey begins: Yale to welcome Class of 2025 at Opening Assembly

Held outdoors on Cross Campus this year, Opening Assembly marks the official beginning of the collegiate experience for first-year students at Yale.
People setting up chairs on Cross Campus

(Photo by Dan Renzetti)

President Peter Salovey and Yale College Dean Marvin Chun will formally welcome the members of the Yale Class of 2025 — as well as transfer students, matriculants in the Eli Whitney Students Program, and visiting international students — at Opening Assembly Aug. 28, offering words of encouragement and insight as about 1,800 undergraduates begin university life.

The gathering, typically held in Woolsey Hall but held remotely last year, will this year take place outdoors on Cross Campus due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The 11 a.m. event will feature all the traditional elements of Opening Assembly, including a procession of Yale’s academic leaders in full academic dress; welcoming remarks by Salovey and Chun; a benediction by Yale Chaplain Sharon Kugler; and musical performances by the Yale Glee Club.

Opening Assembly marks the official beginning of the collegiate experience for the first-year students, who won’t gather for an official university ceremony as a whole class until Commencement weekend.

The 1,789 members of the Class of 2025 includes 335 students who were admitted previously but took a gap year in 2020–2021.

Only first-year students and first-year counselors will be admitted to Opening Assembly, and Yale I.D.s are required. The ceremony will be recorded and later posted to the Yale YouTube channel for viewing by students unable to attend, family members and others.

Prior to Opening Assembly, at 9 a.m. and also on Cross Campus, Lynn Cooley, dean of the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences (GSAS), and Salovey will welcome Yale’s 795 new degree-seeking GSAS students at the Graduate School Matriculation Ceremony. Kugler will offer a benediction. The event will not be recorded or Livestreamed.

The deans of Yale’s professional schools have separately been greeting their newest classes of students on Zoom or at in-person gatherings.

After a year of mostly online instruction, the university has planned a return to in-person learning and teaching for the fall semester, and will adapt as necessary in accord with public health guidance.

We will create the most enriching educational environment possible this year while of course prioritizing the health and safety of faculty, staff, students, and all those we encounter in the broader community,” Salovey wrote in a recent letter to the Yale community.

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