The University of Washington Tacoma will host a community celebration Friday as part of its convocation ceremony welcoming students back to campus for the start of the new academic year.
Events are scheduled from 1:45-4:30 p.m. Friday in downtown Tacoma.
The public is invited. Participants are asked to register online at tacoma.uw.edu/convocation.
Preliminary figures from UWT show more than 4,200 students enrolled this fall. More than 550 are working on graduate-level degrees and the rest are pursuing bachelor-level studies.
For the eighth year, the campus admitted first-year students. This year’s freshman class includes 450 students — the largest in campus history.
Figures released by UWT also show an increasing number of applications are coming from Tacoma Public Schools students. This follows an initiative known as Pathways to Promise, a partnership between the university and local school districts designed to build awareness of local college options.
In January, UWT Chancellor Debra Friedman and Tacoma Public Schools Superintendent Carla Santorno reached out to the families of all Tacoma Public Schools seniors who met acceptance criteria. They were invited to events such as a workshop with UWT admissions counselors.
Applications to UWT from Tacoma schools totaled 115 for the 2012-2013 academic year, and the university reports on its website that it’s on target to double that figure this year.
Classes began Wednesday. Friday’s downtown convocation, which UWT held last year for the first time, will start with a procession of students, faculty and others. Accompanied by musicians, the crowd will follow four routes to the center of campus. The four starting points: Broadway Center, KeyBank, McCarver Elementary School and the Tacoma Art Museum.
“By symbolically starting their journey to campus from four of our closest partners, students will begin to understand that the whole community is committed to helping them achieve their educational dreams,” Friedman said in a news release.
The parade will be followed by a brief welcome from Friedman and Mayor Marilyn Strickland.
Welcoming remarks will begin at 2:30 p.m. on the staircase in the center of campus. A 3 p.m. campus fair featuring Tacoma businesses and nonprofits will be held on campus at Gillenwater Plaza. Downtown Tacoma museums, retailers, food trucks and more will be there.