Cover Stories
In with a roar. The class of 2017 is standing up. Don’t stand in their way.

The dining halls are full. The shuttles are running non-stop. And a brand new crop of students now sing the TU fight song. It can only mean one thing.

The tigers are back in town.

With the new year at TU in full swing, we’ve had a chance to meet the newest edition of Towson students—the class of ’17. And we can’t deny it: We’re impressed.

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Academically, the class of ’17 is one of the strongest in TU’s history. The class boasts an average high school GPA of 3.61 and an SAT of 1630. A whopping 17 percent of this year’s freshmen had high school GPAs of 4.0 or higher, and nearly 190 were accepted into Towson’s highly competitive Honors College.

It’s also a diverse group. Seventeen countries and 26 states are represented in the freshman class. Minority representation is very strong, with 29 percent self-reporting as minority students.

‘Ready to Take Charge’

Infographic of Class of 2017

While the numbers are impressive, they only tell part of the tale. Experience tells the rest.

The class includes valedictorians, student government leaders and top student-athletes. They’re musicians, artists and entrepreneurs. They’ve been involved in everything from Habitat for Humanity to Junior ROTC to the Future Farmers of America.

Now, they’re unleashing that experience at Towson.

“The class of 2017 is very engaged,” says Dave Fedorchak, director of university admissions. “From athletics to arts to community service—it’s an intelligent, active, successful group.”

And for the class that came of age in the Great Recession, Fedorchak says, they’re very aware of the social and political issues in the world around them.

“I think we’re about to meet the ‘action generation’,” he says. “These students have already seen a lot in their lifetime, and it’s made them more sensitive to the world they live in. They’ve heard a lot of talk in their lives, a lot of promises. They’re ready to take charge of the future.”

Many in the incoming class are already meeting that future head on.

Yuyi Zhu took part in Project Serve, Towson’s pre-orientation community service program for freshmen. He spent the days before classes started working throughout the Baltimore area for organizations such as ARC and the Maryland Food Bank.

“It opened my eyes to many different people with different backgrounds,” says Zhu, who plans to double major in nursing and biology and one day go to medical school. “Seeing people so passionate about their communities and helping others showed me I can do so much more.”

Lioba Menger plans to study occupational therapy and hopes to travel the country after she graduates. But for now, she’s excited to study subjects she didn’t experience in high school, such as sign language and world music.

“I’m looking forward to the small classes and professors who are willing to advise me and work with me one-on-one,” she says.

Meanwhile, many other students like Ellie Mamula are eager to get involved in Towson’s vibrant campus life.

“It’s fun to be the new kid on the block. We’ll see if we can’t liven up campus even more,” she says. “I can’t wait to meet new people and see what happens next.”

And neither can we.

By Dan Fox. Photos by Kanji Takeno and DeCarlo Brown.

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